Best Comeback Athlete ESPY Award
The Best Comeback Athlete ESPY Award has been presented annually since 1993 to the sportsperson, irrespective of gender, contesting a team sport professionally under the auspices of one of the four North American leagues or an individual sport on either an amateur or professional basis primarily in the United States or internationally under the auspices of an sport governing body adjudged to have made the most significant, profound, or impressive comeback from serious illness, injury, personal or familial hardship, retirement, or significant loss of form.
Between 1993 and 2004, the award voting panel comprised variously fans; sportswriters and broadcasters, sports executives, and retired sportspersons, termed collectively experts; and ESPN personalities, but balloting thereafter has been exclusively by fans over the Internet from amongst choices selected by the ESPN Select Nominating Committee.
Through the 2001 iteration of the ESPY Awards, ceremonies were conducted in February of each year to honor achievements over the previous calendar year; awards presented thereafter are conferred in June and reflect performance from the June previous.
List of winners
- ATP Comeback Player of the Year Award
- Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (National Hockey League)
- MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award, The Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award
- MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award
- NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award
- WTA Comeback Player of the Year Award
- Because of the rescheduling of the ESPY Awards ceremony, the award presented in 2002 was given in consideration of performance betwixt February 2001 and June 2002.
- The second of Holyfield's professional fights was most prominently sanctioned by the World Boxing Association, the heavyweight championship belt of which he captured in such fight.
- Although a participant in organized competitions and although sponsored by Rip Curl, Hamilton was a professional neither at the time she was the victim of a shark attack nor at the time she returned therefrom, such that she did not partake of a specific league or federation.