The ultimate "don't come back" list

Updated: September 28, 2009, 1:56 PM ET
By LZ Granderson | Page 2

There are still three months left in 2009, but as far as Page 2 is concerned the year can be defined in one word: comeback. Lance Armstrong is back on his bike, the Yankees are back in the playoffs, Brady is back under center and Floyd Mayweather is back on the beatdown. It's not just men who are pressing rewind. Justine Henin -- presumably inspired by watching her former punching bag, Kim Clijsters, un-retire to win the U.S. Open -- has decided to un-retire herself. Even Whitney Houston found her way out of rehab and back to the top of the charts. Yes, things are looking rosy on the comeback trail. So much so there is concern there might be questionable people and trends that may re-enter the spotlight as well. This is why I have compiled a list of the top 100 things we do not want to come back. Chances are some things are missing, but if the items on the list stay gone, we may be able to stomach those that squeak through.

100. Bling. I don't know if it's the NBA dress code, the rash of athletes being targeted for robberies or the fashion pendulum swinging away from Mr. T and more toward common sense. I'm just happy bling -- the noun and the adjective -- has lost its shine.

99. Prohibition

98. Men wearing toe rings

97. Bill Romanowski

96. Rickey Henderson

95. Winger

94. Warrant

93. Whitesnake

92. Any other big-hair '80s band that started with "W"

91. Dubya

90. Short shorts on NBA players. The sight of Tree Rollins running up and down the court in a pair of Daisy Dukes always made me throw up a little in my mouth.

89. Sanjaya

88. Ross Perot

[+] EnlargeBill Romanowski
Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBill Romanowski was linked to the BALCO scandal, viciously punched a teammate and spit on an opponent. Spare us an encore.

87. The XFL

86. Atari 2600

85. Red, yellow and other brightly colored Levis.

84. John Edwards

83. John Daly

82. "Star Wars"

81. Lenny Wilkens

80. David Duke

79. Jesse Jackson

78. Jermaine Jackson

77. Shawn Kemp

76. Overly earnest baseball nicknames, such as "Charlie Hustle" and "Donnie Baseball"

75. TV shows with better theme songs than plots, such as …

74. "Cheers" or …

73. "The Greatest American Hero"

72. The Bash Brothers.

71. Plurals spelled with a "z" instead of an "s" … "boyz," for example

70. Wooden tennis rackets

69. S-Curl, Jheri curl, Care Free Curl and any other hairstyle featured in "Coming to America"

68. Polyester jumpsuits

67. Kwame Kilpatrick

66. Music by Bette Midler

65. The sky hook. Only one man made it look cool. You will never be that man.

64. Martina Navratilova

63. Traditional NBA centers. Especially if they're wearing short shorts

62. Barry Bonds

61. "The Super Bowl Shuffle"

60. Televangelists

[+] EnlargeRod Blagojevich
Scott Olson/Getty ImagesWe can only hope Rod Blagojevich doesn't follow Tom DeLay's path to "Dancing with the Stars."

59. Rod Blagojevich

58. Parachute pants

57. Jason

56. Freddy

55. Michael

54. The Boz

53. John Rocker

52. The paper-bag test

51. Life before Title IX

50. Lionel Richie. Specifically the version that thought "Dancing on the Ceiling" was a good idea.

49. Larry Bird Converses

48. Magic Johnson: talk-show host

47. Bob Probert

46. Mad cow disease

45. Athletes referring to themselves in the third person

44. El Niño

43. Michelle Wie

42. White flight

41. Kris Kross

40. Martina Hingis. Unless she's partying with Michael Phelps.

39. Jack Nicholson's Joker

38. "It's a black thing; you wouldn't understand"

37. Walkmans

36. Smoking

35. The phrases "blue-eyed soul," "white chocolate" and "pretty fly for a white guy." Not everything black people do is cool. Not everything white people do is corny.

34. Tim Donaghy

Ryan Leaf
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesRyan Leaf's 50.0 career passer rating, coupled with legal issues, will likely spare us a comeback.

33. Ryan Leaf

32. "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" (see No. 35)

31. Latrell Sprewell

30. George Foreman

29. Creed

28. "Sex and the City." Really, another movie? Is this the one where Mr. Big drives off a cliff because he can't take it anymore.

27. Tonya Harding

26. "The Nanny"

25. Jim Carrey

24. "Tupac is still alive" rumors

23. Porn-star mustaches on quarterbacks

22. Armband tats

21. "Scream" masks for Halloween

20. Patrick Ewing. My knees still hurt from watching him try to run up the court wearing a Seattle uniform.

19. "Word to yo' mother"

18. Yugos

17. Chew

16. Fax machines

15. Moneyball

14. The NBA without a rookie salary cap

13. Pre-shootout NHL

12. M. Night Shyamalan, aka the Brady Anderson of Hollywood

11. Sean Avery

10. The Vancouver Grizzlies

9. Curt Schilling

8. Cher

7. Shorter NBA 3-point range. This is how we ended up with Terry Mills in the 3-point shootout in 1997.

6. Sandra Bernhard

5. Evander Holyfield

4. "I am not gay" press conferences

3. "I am gay" People magazine cover stories

2. Michael Jordan. Please, dude, don't do it.

1. Government cheese. Yes, it made the best macaroni, but that @#%& wasn't healthy.

LZ Granderson is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and a regular contributor to Page 2. He can be reached at

LZ Granderson | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine