Take Your Pick: Sports Illustrated's Sportsman Of The Year Candidates

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attends the Sportsman Of The Year 2014 Ceremony on December 9, 2014 in New York City.
attends the Sportsman Of The Year 2014 Ceremony on December 9, 2014 in New York City.

This time around, Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman/Sportswoman/Sportsanimal of the year gives everybody the opportunity to weigh the achievement of a fifty-legged champion against one with only four legs.

Which is the more accomplished winner? The Kansas City Royals or American Pharoah?

Ronda Rousey is also a candidate. She has done more than anyone to bring mixed martial arts to more people, though some of them might wish it otherwise. Rousey might be the favorite for the award if she hadn’t so publicly celebrated in her book her lopsided victory outside the ring over her former boyfriend.

Then there’s Serena Williams, who might have Ronda Rousey crying “uncle” in about 30 seconds if Williams weren’t so busy continuing to win tennis tournaments.

That sample should make apparent the absurdity of picking a single winner from among the candidates this year. Each person’s choice is bound to depend on that person’s taste in sports.

If you still regard baseball as “The American Pastime,” you like the Royals.

On the other hand, somebody wins the World Series every year. No horse had won the Triple Crown in 37 years until American Pharoah did that, and under the handicap of a name that was spelled wrong, too.

So I won’t hesitate to reveal that as far as I’m concerned, Sports Illustrated’s judges will have disgraced themselves unless they name co-winners for 2015.

Lionel Messi led F.C. Barcelona to victory in virtually every competition for which the soccer team was eligible. In so doing, he delighted everyone with an appreciation for grace, creativity and grit. Whereas lots of other players are inclined to fall over when an opponent approaches them in the penalty box, Messi invariably stays upright. Then he scores.

Messi’s co-winner should be Carli Lloyd. On July 5th of this year, she had a great season. To the astonishment of the women playing for Japan on that day in Vancouver, Lloyd scored three goals within the first 16 minutes of the Women’s World Cup Final. She launched the third one from Seattle.

Lloyd taught soccer’s detractors that a sport unfairly slandered as dull can be magnificently exciting and thoroughly unpredictable.

So Messi and Lloyd get my votes. Check out the slate of candidates below. And in this election, since SI will pay no attention to you, it’s okay to vote often as well as early.

2015 Sportsman of the Year Candidates:

Simone Biles
Usain Bolt
Steph Curry
Thomas Davis
Novak Djokovic
Carli Lloyd
Lionel Messi
American Pharoah
Ronda Rousey
Kansas City Royals
Jordan Spieth
Serena Williams

This segment aired on November 14, 2015.


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Bill Littlefield Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.



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