Best Comeback Athlete ESPY Award

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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.[1]

List of winners[edit]

Year Sportsperson Nationality Team Competition,
or league
1993 Dave Winfield  United States Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball Baseball
1994 Mario Lemieux  Canada Pittsburgh Penguins National Hockey League Ice hockey
1995 Dan Marino  United States Miami Dolphins National Football League American football
1996 Michael Jordan  United States Chicago Bulls National Basketball Association Basketball
1997 Evander Holyfield  United States not applicable not applicable[2] Boxing
1998 Roger Clemens  United States Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball Baseball
1999 Eric Davis  United States Baltimore Orioles Major League Baseball Baseball
2000 Lance Armstrong  United States US Postal UCI ProTour Road bicycle racing
2001 Andrés Galarraga  Venezuela Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball Baseball
2002 Jennifer Capriati  United States not applicable WTA Tour Tennis
2003 Tommy Maddox  United States Pittsburgh Steelers National Football League American football
2004 Bethany Hamilton  United States not applicable not applicable[3] Surfing
2005 Mark Fields  United States Carolina Panthers National Football League American football
2006 Tedy Bruschi  United States New England Patriots National Football League American football
2007 No award given
2008 Josh Hamilton  United States Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers Major League Baseball Baseball
2009 Dara Torres  United States not applicable not applicable Swimming
2010 Kim Clijsters  Belgium not applicable WTA Tour Tennis
2011 Mark Herzlich  United States Boston College Eagles NCAA (Division I FBS) American football
2012 Matthew Stafford  United States Detroit Lions National Football League (NFL) American football
2013 Adrian Peterson  United States Minnesota Vikings National Football League (NFL) American football
2014 Russell Westbrook  United States Oklahoma City Thunder National Basketball Association (NBA) Basketball
2015 Rob Gronkowski  United States New England Patriots NFL American football
2016 Eric Berry  United States Kansas City Chiefs NFL American football

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.