You're never too old ...
By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

If 55-year-old George Foreman wants to make a boxing comeback, it's his mind to lose. Foreman, who made a fortune boxing in two separate generations (career record: 76-5, 68 KOs) and made himself a household name with a phenomenally popular grilling accessory, can afford to be a little eccentric.

Gorgeous George says he won't fight Lennox Lewis or Mike Tyson, so maybe he isn't completely insane. We'd like to think, in the pay-per-view event of the century, he'd choose to fight Tonya Harding. (What, you're concerned that a spectacle like that would turn him into a joke? Too late.)

But Foreman's story put an idea in Page 2's mind: Who would we most like to see in a triumphant comeback?

John Wooden
Wooden may have trouble fitting in: he didn't yell at the refs for 40 minutes like today's coaches.

John Wooden
Because UCLA has had such a tough time replacing him since he retired in '75, why should the Bruins continue with this never-ending string of live-in-his-shadow facsimiles? Why not let Westwood have its original Wizard back?

Consider: Would confound opposing coaches, who would have to spend entire games in "I'm not worthy" bow.

But yet: Coaches aren't allowed to play "don't ask, don't tell" booster-boosted recruiting game anymore.

Charles Barkley
After trashing most of the league for the last few seasons in the comforts of the broadcast studio, let him put his money where his mouth is. How about with the Cavs?

Consider: Wimpy state of league means Sir Charles could average at least 10 rebounds per game.

But yet: Would have to leave him permanently on one half of the court, because he couldn't drag himself up and down.

John Elway
Broncos haven't been the same since he left with two straight rings.

Consider: Jake Plummer?! Jake Plummer?! Plus, that Arena Football League ownership thing isn't working out too well. (Big John's Colorado Crush went 2-14 in inaugural season.)

But yet: He knew when to get out. Can't win in short term.

Minnie Minoso
Still kickin' at a spry 80, Minoso should pick up where he left off in '80 -- appearing in a baseball game in every decade since the 1940s.

Consider: Missed the '90s; faster to first than Mo Vaughn; would significantly help White Sox attendance problems; great timing with All-Star Game at Comiskey.

But yet: Would alienate sensibilities of baseball "purists."

Joe Namath
Sure, his knees are shot, but being a winning NFL QB is 90 percent moxie, 10 percent mobility (otherwise, how do you explain Drew Bledsoe?)

Consider: From his armchair, probably better than half the current NFL backups; mink coats back in style.

But yet: He'd have to lose the cheesy infomercial gigs.

Hank Aaron
Rumor has it that when Barry Bonds starts coming close to Hank's 755 career HRs, he's going to take a series of 10-day contracts with an as-yet-unnamed AL team.

Sandy Koufax
A Koufax comeback? Hey, he's not much older than Jesse Orosco.

Consider: DH means he can save himself for the at-bats; finding a park with a laughably short porch; AL pitching really stinks these days.

But yet: Probably hasn't been keeping up with the "supplements" craze (would need to start now).

Sandy Koufax
He's had enough time to rest his best-of-all-time arm, plus teams are always desperate for any lefty who can put it over the plate.

Consider: Development of relief specialization means he might only have to pitch to one batter per game. Do-able!

But yet: He'd have to play ball with the media, which might be a deal-breaker.

Joe Gibbs
Steve Spurrier's coaching potential notwithstanding, the Redskins have been in a slump ever since Gibbs hung up the headset for a NASCAR toolkit.

Consider: The return of the "counter-trey"; the "new Hogs"; John Riggins' unretirement as a bonus.

But yet: Actually even better at being a racing owner than a Hall of Fame-quality NFL coach.

Bill Walton
A recent trend in the NBA is for coaches to regain their cachet by serving as a TV analyst; why can't Walton regain his all-time great status and return to the court?

Consider: Seems to know exactly what to do in every situation.

But yet: Can he stand up to his own exacting "Throw it down!" standard?

Fran Tarkenton
Ever since John Elway got his Super Bowl rings, Tarkenton remains on the NFL's "So Close Yet So Far" mountaintop.

Consider: Finding and deploying a Vick-type scrambler is the hot trend among NFL offensive coordinators, and you know Tark still has the wheels.

But yet: He ain't winning any Super Bowls with Randy Moss.

Wayne Gretzky
You know he could still average 80 points a season, and he could single-handedly significantly increase NHL TV ratings.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem could teach Shaq the skyhook and give the Lakers some frontcourt depth.

Consider: Rangers desperate for star wattage; hot wife watch.

But yet: He's still got his good looks; no guarantee if he comes back.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The Lakers are in trouble. Shaq couldn't get the job done. The team is desperate for another inside player, and the thought of Juwan Howard on the roster is enough to inspire Kareem back into the game.

Consider: Holds off Karl Malone's mission to break his all-time scoring record; "sky hook" still the most indefensible shot in hoops.

But yet: May inspire unintended comebacks from physically similar Ralph Sampson, Manute Bol and Chuck Nevitt.

Michael Jordan
Uh, on second thought ...

10 OTHERS ON THE "UNRETIRE WATCH":

Bruce Jenner: I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here got his competitive juices flowing again.

Robin Roberts: Could definitely be a WNBA All-Star, plus cross-promote league on Good Morning, America.

Bobby Hull: Already in the works? Not so crazy ...

'86 Mets: Could take current Mets best of 7 ...

Ara Parsegian: A year late to turn around Notre Dame, but Northwestern could sure use him.

Mark McGwire: Buddy Sosa could use a pal right now.

Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler: Phi Slamma Lakers?

Anna Kournikova: Forgot for a sec and thought you meant who should retire ...

Mario Lemieux: Whoops, too early ...

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "Daily Quickie" commentary appears every weekday morning.





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ALSO SEE:


Dan Shanoff Archive

Shanoff: NBA Draft Quarterfinals

Shanoff: NBA Draft Semifinals

Shanoff: NBA Draft Finals





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