In a showcase of basketball excellence not seen since the glory days of the Chicago Bulls or L.A. Lakers in the 90’s, the Golden State Warriors have dominated basketball the last two seasons, winning an NBA championship and setting an NBA record for wins at the start of the 2015-16 season along the way. Powered by Steph Curry, the league’s reigning MVP, the Warriors seemingly have little in the way of winning a second straight championship. #SquadGoals for sure.
2. Deflate Gate
Tom Brady and The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl this year, but hardly had time to enjoy it before they were embroiled in controversy over, of all things, deflated footballs. The Indianapolis Colts accused the team of deflating balls during the playoffs to help Tom Brady. Brady soon became the center of the controversy when texts to Patriots equipment managers suggested his involvement. An NFL investigation discovered the balls involved did not meet standard inflation pressure and Brady was suspended for four games of the 2015-2016 season. But the suspension was overturned by a judge after Brady appealed and the Patriots went on to win not just their first four games, but their first eleven.
3. Cam Newton
Panthers QB Cam Newton had one of the greatest seasons of any NFL quarterback, racking up league-leading stats and 15 straight wins along the way. The team’s first loss came on December 27th, the same weekend Newton allegedly became a first-time father. (Was his rocking a football like a baby after a touchdown run a clue?) Newton has thrown for 33 touchdowns against only 10 picks, earning 3,544 yards and has an overall passer rating of 97.0. It’s been a career year for the 26-year-old, who’s been cheering on friend Steph Curry as both of them vie for almost certain MVP honors in their respective sports.
Serena Williams had such a great year that when she fell one win short of a calendar Grand Slam, she was still named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson Of The Year. Serena won every Grand Slam tournament she played in 2015, except for the U.S. Open, she returned to Indian Wells, where she’d been unceremoniously booed 13 years before, she retained her #1 ranking for the second year in a row and she did it all looking fabulous and at age 34, when most tennis players have burned out and are past their prime. Serena promises to be back just as strong in 2016, which opens with the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, in January.
5. Steph Curry
He did get a head start in basketball as his father, Dell, was an NBA player who spent 16 years in the league as a three-point specialist. And as his firstborn son and namesake, Wardell Stephen Curry II was obviously was born to greatness. But “Steph” Curry has made quite the name for himself surpassing even his father’s solid career with two golden seasons.
The current NBA MVP, the skinny kid out of lowly (in basketball terms) Davidson College wasn’t expected to be a star in the league. But Curry surprised everyone by becoming the NBA’s best player, on track in 2015 to break his own record for three-pointers made in a season.
He scored more points in his first ten games in 2015, when Golden State went 10-0, than Michael Jordan did in the 1996-97 season when the Bulls went 10-0. We’ll know better after this season is over, but so far, Curry is heading towards, statistically, the best basketball season of any player, ever. Of course, he’ll need a few more rings before he moves into best of all time contention…
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally fought on May 2. It was promoted as “The Fight of the Century” and the hype around seeing two of the top fighters in their weight class finally compete made it exciting for fans of both. That excitement had both fighters set to receive the biggest payoff in boxing history given projected advance pay-per-view sales. However, the big matchup underwhelmed many boxing fans who found Mayweather’s win by unanimous decision to be decidedly lackluster. But they’d already paid to see it, which meant the fight made both fighters much wealthier men. Of course, everyone knows Mayweather could care less about critics, as long as his [huge] check cleared.