Reminiscing about a year that is about to end is one of my favorite things to do. Whether it be with friends, family, or on my own, it’s always fun to look back and reflect on both the good and bad.
The same goes in the world of sport, as frankly, the majority of my favorite moments in 2015 come from sports.
There won’t be a definitive list, unlike in years past. I won’t go back and look at the moments that sent Twitter ablaze, either. Though, it’s worth mentioning that most of these moments did.
Instead, I’m picking out the moments that stood out to me most, some good, some not, but that reflects life, as sports seem to do so well.
Some of these stories I’ve written about extensively, others I have not. But rest assured, 2015 was one fine year in the world of sports.
Here are the stories that stuck with me most in 2015.
For a quick moment, think about the greatest athletes in the history of sport. Now ask yourself, were any of them women? Amongst the Michael Jordan’s and Muhammed Ali’s you were most likely thinking of, it’s time to stop making this a gender-specific argument.
21 Grand Slams, another ‘Serena Slam’ under her championship belt and one remarkable upset, one that doesn’t garner enough hyperbole to describe it, away in the US Open to finishing off a calendar-year Grand Slam. Named SI’s Sportsperson of the Year, and a leading voice for women on body image and the most devastating serve possibly in tennis history.
That’s a hard act to follow.
Seattle Comeback and The Butler Did It
The Green Bay Packers had their trip to the Super Bowl all but wrapped up. Then Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks recovered a dropped onside kick, converted a prayer of a two-point conversion and won the game on a helluva toss from Wilson.
Two weeks later, Wilson threw the pick heard round the world in a Super Bowl that has all but planted Tom Brady as the greatest to ever command the Quarterback position.
As for the Packers, well, they enjoyed a comeback for the ages, of their own. A comeback mind you, that got me kicked out of my college library while I was studying for finals. Conclusion: 100 percent worth it.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals
One of the most fun things I’ve ever done when it comes to blogging. Definitely looking forward to doing this type of writing again. My in-game analysis, watching and typing as the play was happening before me. Turned out to be one of the best basketball games of the year.
While were on the NBA train, let’s touch base on all the things I lost my mind over in the Association in ’15:
You spend the pretty penny on NBA League Pass for players, and the special stretches that come around, just like this one. In February, Russell Westbrook led a Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder on one of the most enjoyable months I’ve ever witnessed from a NBA player.
The lasting stat line:
31.2 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, 10.2 assists per game.
And a coast-to-coast dunk that shook the midwest.
Klay Thompson drops 37… In the 3rd Quarter.
A verbatim conversation between myself and my cousin the morning after Thompson dropped the 37. We were occupied all day due to a wedding in Colorado.
Me: “Holy S#$% Klay Thompson scored 37 last night.”
Cousin: “Doesn’t seem THAT impressive, but Okay.”
Me: “Let me rephrase that. Klay Thompson dropped 37 in one quarter last night.”
Cousin: “You’re F$%&*@# kidding, in one quarter?”
That’s about all you need to know on how the rest of the league responded. Heat check mode received a new definition during those 12 minutes against Sacramento.
At 29-2, by now the world knows that the Golden State Warriors are a historic bunch. Only one player from a year ago is not on this record setting 2015-16 team, and a Cleveland squad without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, the two men designated to take some of the burden off LeBron in the playoffs were hurt.
Few forget, that practically LeBron himself had the Warriors on the ropes up 2-1 at home in the Finals. Though he failed in defeat, his performances were legendary.
Take a look back at “A King’s World” to remind yourself that yes, Steph Curry is the hottest thing in the NBA right now, but a LeBron James will never walk through the doors of the NBA again. Love him or despise him, enjoy his incredible skill.
And lastly, the top five NBA vines/videos from 2015, with a Steph Curry sideshow.
And by far the best way to sum up Curry’s greatness over these past 12 months in one vine…
4. Sound on.
3. Zach LaVine gives the Dunk Contest hope
2. The Impersonator
Brandon Armstrong took the NBA offseason by storm by making fun of a handful of NBA superstars mannerism’s. In the process, he even got his own story in ESPN The Magazine.
1. The Shot
Maybe a little biased, but the video captures a one of a kind moment.
Just a kid from Chicago.
Staying with the Chicago theme…
Dynasty, and the foundation of a new one.
I’ll admit, I’m probably the one person from Chicago that doesn’t always get caught up in the Chicago Blackhawks fever. But then June came, and the special circumstances I was under gave me a new found respect and love for playoff hockey and the Chicago Blackhawks.
A quick story…
Whenever you stay for a summer in your college town, you can imagine the debauchery that ensues, along with the incredibly ridiculous stories that come with it. It certainly is one of the most joyous times in one’s life.
This happens to be the place myself and two other of my close friends stayed in. Yes, it is exactly what you had in mind when it comes to summer homes at college.
Aside from many other things, I’ll always remember 1411 Walnut Ave (aka “The Nut”) as the birth of my new found love for hockey. It was here that my roommates (huge Blackhawks and Chicago fans) and myself watched every game of the Blackhawks journey towards their eventual 3rd Stanley Cup.
And on the night the Hawks clinched the Cup on a thunderous Patrick Kane goal, on a muggy Monday Missouri night, 375 miles from away from Chicago, where we both would rather have been, my longtime friend and I sat back and watched a Dynasty come into fruition.
Planted in our old, uncomfortable couches, we cracked open a few 312’s and played Chelsea Dagger on repeat all night as fireworks went off from other degenerate Blackhawks fans down the road celebrated in the thick Missouri air.
A moment that sticks with you for the rest of your life.
As for the dynasty coming together on the North Side of Chicago, they just might end up being the story of 2016, but watching a bunch of rookies lift a franchise most synonymous with losing to 97 wins and four games away from the first World Series appearance since World War II, was one of the more enjoyable things to watch this year.
And as for the rest of the MLB playoffs, that never disappoint, they’ll be bat-flipping into 2016.
A few good-bye’s.
For as much as we reflect on the happiness that comes with a full year of sports, unfortunately the wins come with losses. Among them, NBA greats such as Moses Malone, Dolph Schayes and coach Flip Saunders. We also lost one of the great humans in 2015, in Yankee great Yogi Berra.
Known for his trademark sayings such as, “The future ain’t what it used to be,” and “It ain’t over till it’s over,” he will forever be remembered as a great winner (10 World Series titles as catcher for the Yankees) and an American hero, storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
Personally, the losses that hit home the most was the death of Stuart Scott, SportCenter will never be the same. As well as the ultimate demise of Grantland, which compelled me to start writing, whether it be about sports or not. A writer draws their source of inspiration from somewhere, for me it was Grantland.
College Football summed up in a couple of videos…
Week after week, College Football delivered an ending that would shock the country. Here’s a look back at the five best.
5. Ohio State Trickery
The play that kick-started the most unlikely champion of the 2015 College Football Playoff. With a third-string QB at the helm, the Buckeyes pulled off a gutsy trick play that catapulted them past Bama in the Sugar Bowl Semifinal.
4. Tanner Mangum Magic
In the first few weeks of the College Football season, Tanner Mangum went from backup QB to cult hero in one Saturday afternoon, and a couple after that.
3. “What a time to be alive.”
No better way to put it.
2. The ‘U’ Walk-off Kickoff
1. Rivalry Dagger
Michigan State has been invisible when it comes to the final seconds of big games this season. Game-winning field goal in the Horseshoe, game-winning drive against Iowa in the Big Ten Championship, but this takes the cake for any Spartan alum out there.
Lastly, here are the stories that I wrote about that sum up some of 2015’s defining moments.
A World Cup filled with redemption from their 2011 loss to Japan, and the final farewell to one of Soccer’s all-time greats, Abby Wambach. This group has sparked a revolution in Women’s soccer in the U.S.
There was Deflate-Gate, there was the NBA Free-Agency and the DeAndre Jordan Twitter debacle. There was Becky Hammon winning the Summer League, and Jen Welter coaching the Arizona Cardinals linebackers (turning out well for the Cardinals right now) and there was the MLB youth movement.
Summer is suppose to have a slow news cycle in the sports world, that wasn’t the case in 2015.
A Chancellor and President resigned. Teachers resigned. The campus shut down due to threats. Classes were cancelled. And yet, it would have never became a national story if the Missouri Football team hadn’t decided to boycott practicing (and playing) over campus protests.
And all of it unfolded outside my doorstep.
Like it or not, the Mizzou football team proved how powerful these student-athletes are. It wasn’t truly known until they decided to step in and raise awareness about racism on Mizzou’s campus, and campuses across the country.
2015 was quite the year all-around. A lot of change in the world, and a lot of change in sports. Heading into 2016, GoatSports will also change. There will be a new look, and will also be featuring more topics, such as politics, social media, pop culture, travel, food and much more.
Rest assured, there will be plenty of sports. Because if I learned anything in 2015, is that the quote by Stephen M. Ross:
Sports is the common denominator in the world that brings everyone together. If there’s any one place in the world where there is equality, it is probably sports. That was something that didn’t always exist. We’ve come a long way in sports. Why can’t society use sports as a way to bring people together and create change?
Is 100 percent true.
Happy New Year