Comeback Kids: Athletes Who Rose Up From The Depths Of Hell

Darren - July 20, 2023

Comeback Kids: Athletes Who Rose Up From The Depths Of Hell

Darren - July 20, 2023

Sky Sports

Vasily Lomachenko

Lomachenko is one of the greatest technical boxers ever. The Ukrainian star made multiple opponents retire on their stools because he bamboozled them. He has outstanding footwork and an unbelievable understanding of the sport. But he also emerged from the depths of Hell because he helped to defend his country.


‘Loma’ is the third Ukrainian athlete on this list and he also enlisted in the country’s military. But he took time to box and inspire his countrymen on the front lines. Amazingly, he went from the front lines of a global conflict to fighting for titles in Las Vegas. However, he possesses a special mental strength and this helped him (via SBNation).


LeBron James

James is in a different situation from most of the athletes on this list. That’s because he endured intense psychological pressure during the final days of his first spell in Cleveland. The local icon became a hate figure in his city after he abandoned them for the Miami Heat. He wanted to win rings but didn’t think that the Cavaliers could do it.

Sky Sports

However, James earned redemption when he returned to Cleveland after he quit Miami. Then he achieved a fairytale ending to his time in Ohio when he helped them to their first NBA title. This was a massive turnaround because some fans burnt his jersey when he signed for the Heat (via Bleacher Report).

Sky Sports

Eric Abidal

Abidal has one of the most dramatic stories on this list because he recovered from cancer and won the Champions League in 2011. The French star even lifted the trophy first because his Barcelona teammates thought that he deserved it. But that wasn’t the end of Abidal’s problems because his health problems returned.

Sports Illustrated

Next, he required a liver transplant and nobody thought that he would play again. Nonetheless, Abidal showed his toughness and determination as he recovered again. He returned to Barcelona before playing in France with Monaco. It’s a legendary story because he rose from the depths of Hell (via Sky Sports).

The Guardian

Brittney Griner

It’s safe to say that Griner never expected to spend time in a Russian jail. The WNBA star has spent her career with the Phoenix Mercury. But she also played in China and Russia during the offseason. Then the Russian government turned her into a political pawn as they incarcerated her on drug charges (via The Athletic).

ABC News

Griner foolishly brought cannabis oil into the country for personal use. The Russians leaped at this and threw her into jail for four months. It became a major international incident but in the end, the U.S. government brought her home. They swapped her for a convicted arms dealer and she resumed her career with aplomb.

Ed Mulholland

Kassim Ouma

Nobody has a story like Ouma’s because he rose from the depths of Hell. The former boxer had a decent career but his rise to stardom was insane. He grew up in Uganda but then mercenaries kidnapped him before forcing him to become a child soldier. It was a horrific ordeal for a youngster and he admits that he killed people.


Ouma escaped the army and entered the boxing world. He won the IBF Light-Middleweight title while he also fought for WBC belts. Some people will disparagingly say that he had an average record but they’re missing the point. He overcame the odds to transform his life and become a functioning human being (via Medium).


Francis Ngannou

Ngannou has one of the most iconic stories in sports history. The Cameroonian MMA fighter worked in sand mines when he was young. But he wanted more from his life and decided to travel to France to become a boxer. He crossed the African continent and went to Morocco where he faced police brutality.


The future UFC champion risked his life as he crossed deserts and waterways. When he arrived in Europe he sheltered in car parks before Fernand Lopez welcomed him to his gym. Then he evolved into the most frightening heavyweight on the planet as he rose from the depths of Hell (via The Mirror).