March 29, 2016 - With over twenty million readers, “Sports Illustrated” is easily the most popular sports magazine of all time. With more than its sixty years of history, one surge in readership occurred with the November 12 2001 issue because, as the cover suggests (see accompanying image), the world-series was won by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Against all odds, the win’s unexpected occurrence prompted a related article, “The Top Ten Comebacks of All Time.”
It was not unusual to find, on this elite list with the 2001 Arizona team, such sports figures as Muhammad Ali (regaining the heavyweight championship in 1974 after losing the title seven years earlier) and Michael Jordan (returning to basketball success in 1995 after giving baseball a try). These were “comebacks” easily remembered by sports enthusiasts living in the last half of the twentieth century.
To “Sports Illustrated” credit, non-sports comebacks were likewise included, with John Trivolta returning to motion-picture stardom in 1994 and Elvis Presley gaining a renewed if short-lived popularity before he died in 1977. The return of Germany and Japan to industrial powers in the 1950’s were also deemed worthy of making the list, as was Harry Truman’s victory over Thomas Dewey in the 1948 race for the White House. The magazine was even insightful enough to include the world recovery from the black plague in the 14th Century.
But even more perceptive of “Sports Illustrated” was its choice as the #1 “Comeback of All Time,” Jesus Christ’s resurrection. What an enlightening first choice for a sports magazine, even if eminently overshadowed by the fact itself! Perhaps the year 2001 will not be the last time a secular publication credits Christ’s resurrection as an historical fact with no equal.