John Kerry has been accused by his political rivals of being a”flip-flopper.” Changing one’s mind isn’t limited to the politicalarena, however. Here’s a (non-partisan) look at some of sport’smost famous flippers (or floppers). Enjoy
Throughout his career, Primetime couldn’t decide on just one sport,so he tried to play two. Splitting his focus between baseball inthe summer and football in the winter found Sanders excelling inone area (football) and slowly becoming a novelty in the other.
Though he earned his nickname for his highlight-reel footballskills, Sanders owns a lowly .263 career batting average in themajors. His career 39 homers and 168 RBI only compare favorablywhen contrasted against most major league players seasonstatistics.
Sanders has actually reversed course twice, considering that heretired from football in 2000 to broadcast in primetime as afootball analyst. However, 2004 has found him back in a footballuniform, playing with his friend Ray Lewis in Baltimore. Sandershas not had a smooth transition back into the pros and has playedcheerleader on the sidelines more often than lining up as a nickelback on the field.
The 42-year-old living legend officially retired for all of aboutsix weeks after the Yankees’ disappointing loss to the Marlins inthe 2003 World Series. The game beckoned him back and in the endthe Rocket couldn’t resist a chance to pitch for his hometownHouston Astros. The gamble has paid off pretty well for the teamand Clemens.
Roger led his team with an 18-4 regular season record with a2.98 ERA. The Astros are one win away from advancing to the NLCSand a chance to complete their unlikely run to the Series. Even ifthey don’t manage to beat the odds one more time, chances are thatClemens will forgo another six-week retirement and come back for a22nd year of greatness in Houston.
Ricky Williams abruptly retired before training camp this yearunder a cloud (literally) of suspicion and failed drug tests.Williams fled to Australia, where he became a vegan and was livingat a $7-a-day campsite.
However, somewhere between bong hits and finding time to shavehis head of his trademark dreads, Williams decided that he mightlike to give the NFL one last chance. One reason for his suddenswitch may be the $8.6 million he owes the Dolphins for stiffingthem of his services. If he were to return to them, he wouldn’t owethem a penny and probably wouldn’t even have to play for a year, ashe has violated the NFL’s drug policy so many times that they wouldlikely suspend him for the season. Of course, whether his old teamwants him back is another question altogether.
The ultimate flip-flopper. The man deserves a medal to add to hisalready monstrous collection of accolades. In 1993 MJ decided thatafter his first trilogy of championships the sport of basketballhad nothing left to offer him and so began his first retirement.After toiling in the minor leagues for a year, His Airness decidedthat the NBA had something more to offer after all and he returnedto his beloved Bulls, though he did have to endure the humiliationof wearing number 45 for awhile, because Chicago had promptlyretired his 23 jersey after he left.
After concluding another string of three championships in 1998with the immortal last second, game winning fadeaway shot againstthe Utah Jazz, Jordan hung up his ubiquitous Air Jordans for thesecond time in five years. Jordan remained quiet for several years,puffing on Cuban cigars and playing countless rounds of golf withhis equally rich buddies until he couldn’t stand another minute ofretirement. In 2001, he decided to launch, at age 39, one lastcomeback, this time with the Washington Wizards, of which he heldpartial ownership.
Jordan acquitted himself admirably and, though he didn’t manageto sniff the playoffs again, his numbers were still better than themajority of the trash the NBA touts as players nowadays. Only acouple of gaffes, including blowing a memorable dunk opportunity inthe 2001 All-Star Game and at times appearing a step slow on D,marred what was deemed a successful, if not entirely strange,return to the NBA. After his contract ran up in 2003, Jordandecided that his time had truly come and he once again moved on toseemingly greener pastures.
Recently Jordan has again appeared in the news amid rumors ofanother return to the court, which he promptly quelled.