Top 10 Comebacks of 2009
2009 is coming to a close, and if you’ve been looking at any other sites or magazines, you know what that means. It’s officially countdown season! I’ll follow suit with the top 10 (in no particular order) comebacks of 2009. Find out who made the cut after the jump.
After suffering a quite handy and devastating defeat at the hands of the stronger and deeper Boston Celtics one year earlier, the Lakers made a triumphant return to the top. Led by Kobe Bryant aka “Black Mamba,” the team knew it had work to do and made good on that knowledge. They all but trounced the Jazz, were pushed to their limits by the Houston Rockets, and seemed outmatched by the Denver Nuggets. Nevertheless, they persevered and went on to beat the Orlando Magic in five games.
After 2008 brought the revelation that Rick Ross formerly worked as a corrections officer, things looked to be turning sour for the man also known as “The Boss.” To make matters worse, Ross earned himself a new nemesis in 50 Cent (who has quite famously ruined the careers of a few rappers, to say the least). Instead of choosing to fold, Ross got on his grind and hit the industry with Deeper Than Rap. His album went straight to the top of the Billboard charts (which Fif failed to do with Before I Self Destruct) and put in significant work toward solidifying himself as a true hip hop heavyweight.
After a failed stint with the Detroit Pistons and a free agency which seemed to loom forever, Allen Iverson found himself in need of redemption. He signed to the Memphis Grizzlies, but only played three games for them before coming off the bench took its toll on the star. After remaining a free agent (again) for some time, The Answer announced his retirement. It was clear by his statement that he was not done with the game of basketball. Earlier this month, Iverson returned to the Philadelphia 76ers via a one-year salary.
After an eight-year hiatus – a lifetime when one considers the fickle nature of the music industry – Maxwell returned to his fans and to the top of the charts with BLACKsummers’night. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 316,000 units in its first week. Maxwell has also garnered six Grammy nominations from the hugely successful album. We won’t be seeing another hiatus from him any time soon, as BLACKsummers’night is to be the first of a trilogy. Next up will be blackSUMMERS’night, due next year.
Following his suspension and incarceration for bankrolling and participating in a dogfighting ring, the world seemed to be in total disarray around Michael Vick. Public opinion of him was absolutely negative, and his future looked rather bleak. The guy was even slated to begin working for a construction company to pay off his debts. Instead, he rose from the ashes like a phoenix. The league finally uplifted his suspension, allowing him to join the Philadelphia Eagles. He has played at various positions since joining the team and volunteers for charities in attempts to help urban youths. He also has done charity work for the humane treatment of animals since his release from prison. Most recently, his teammates (controversially) voted him the recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.
Having released consecutively successful albums with E=MC² and Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel, you may wonder what Mariah Carey is doing on this list. While her music has continued to perform quite well on the charts and with audiences, her films have been another story. After the widely-panned Glitter, it seemed that Mrs. Cannon should keep her day job. While she acted in a few other films, there was nothing as serious or as critically-acclaimed as the role she took this year. Mimi really showed off her acting chops in Precious, as the social worker who was a hero in the story. She even sported a mustache for the role, which has earned her a few awards already.
After a five-year hiatus following 2004′s Encore, Eminem returned to the world of rap with the long-awaited Relapse.Earlier this year, he infamously responded to Mariah Carey’s not-so-subtle jabs in “Obsessed” with “The Answer,” in which he does what he does best: stir up controversy. He showed those awaiting his return that he’s “still got it” with his album, which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and sold 608,000 copies in its first week of release. The album has since gone platinum. With rapid-fire delivery of murderous and deranged lyrics, Eminem certainly had one of the most notable comebacks of the year.
Long considered one of the laughingstocks of the NBA, the Hawks have had a resurgent few years. After suffering a crushing defeat by the Cavaliers in last year’s playoffs, the Hawks were expected to completely regroup. Despite common expectations, however, the Hawks remained consistent. In a summer full of blockbuster trades (i.e. Shaq, Ron Artest, Allen Iverson, Rasheed Wallace, etc.), the Atlanta Hawks chose not to make any significant personnel changes. The decision has turned out to be a great one as the Hawks have started out on a roll and, after having boasted the best record in the league earlier this year, currently sit at the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Following a failed marriage with singer Bobby Brown, the infamous “crack is wack” interview, and the status of a walking punchline, it seemed we had seen the last of Whitney Houston. The singer came back and did a redeeming interview on Oprah where she talked about how out-of-control her life had gotten before she chose to battle her demons and reclaim her natural talent as well as her career. Having been on hiatus for seven years, Houston shocked the world with her new album, I Look To You. The album debuted at No. 1, selling 305,000 copies in its first week of release – Houston’s career best.
The biggest news of 2009 was, unfortunately, the saddest as well. That news was that the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, had passed away. After facing years of public scrutiny and jokes about his life, no one could do anything other than pay respect to the man in his death. On the brink of a brand new tour, recording new music, and ready to make the comeback of a lifetime, his final hour came too soon. Despite his untimely death, however, Jackson still made a huge impact even in his death. Fans all over the world came together to show their support and adoration for the deceased icon whose music left an impact on us all. The music, laughter, memories, and moments were shared by all and – even in death – Michael Jackson still proved the biggest name in all of showbiz. He will truly be missed.
Those are my top 10 comebacks of the year. Feel free to agree, argue, amend, or rank those on your list in the comments section.
Main Image: UPI