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Michael Jordan's return to pro basketball arrived just in time for the Great Comebacks awards dinner this weekend in San Diego, except this annual event honors real comebacks _ not those of bored, rich athletes whose idea of adversity is getting cut from the high school varsity.
The ceremony, sponsored by Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America for 17 years, honors individuals who battled prolonged illness and won.
"These people," said CCFA event founder Rolf Benirschke, "really re-define the meaning of coming back."
Comebacks? Benirschke himself knows about them. He completed three seasons as a place kicker for the San Diego Chargers in the National Football League when he was diagnosed in 1979 with ulcerative colitis. There was surgery, he dropped from 183 pounds to 123, and had been written off by fans and the team _ before rehabbing himself into shape, returning to football, and kicking a game-winning field goal against the Miami Dolphins in the 1982 playoffs.
"But how important was football to me after that? Not very," he said.
Comebacks are everywhere, if you look for them, and 99 percent don't make screaming headlines or attract legions of TV cameras. Now, with announcers re-evaluating their warlike descriptions of sports, maybe this is a good time to put Jordan's comeback in perspective _ an announcement that sent the sports media into apoplexy.
First of all: He's …