2015 Sportsman of the Year

Now that the World Series is over, it’s time once again to ask the question: who’s going to be Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year?

As usual, I’ll give two answers - who I think SI will choose, and who I would choose.

SI’s choice: I think Jordan Spieth gets it. SI and golf have a bond (after all, you don’t see an “SI tennis supplement”), and Spieth has two majors, a second, one stroke behind the leaders in the fourth, and the Tour (er, TOUR - it’s in all caps for some reason) Championship and FedEx Cup.

My choice: Victor Espinoza - five Triple Crown race wins out of the last six, including being the first in almost 40 years to ride a Triple Crown winner, plus a Breeders Cup Classic.

Other possibilities I can see for SI’s choice:

  1. Bob Baffert, either by himself or with Espinoza (they could even throw in American Pharoah), mainly as a career award topped off by a Triple Crown and a Breeders Cup Classic. There’s precedent for horse racing winning this; Steve Cauthen was SOTY when Affirmed won.

  2. Carli Lloyd - hat trick in the Women’s World Cup Soccer Final (and the first 15 minutes of the match at that) pretty much says it all.

2a. For that matter, I would not be surprised to see a group of women win it - Lloyd, Ronda Rousey, Serena Williams (it would have helped her cause to win the Grand Slam), and wheelchair marathoner Tatyana McFadden.

  1. Stephen Curry, for leading the Warriors to their first NBA title in about 40 years. One possible strike against him; SI gave it to somebody from the San Francisco Bay Area last year.

American Pharoah would actually be a pretty good choice. Certainly one of the most dominant athletes of the year.

Surely Serena Williams will receive some consideration on her own.

Is this award restricted to only American sportspeople? Because otherwise frankly,

  1. Lionel Messi, for a fantastic season with Barcelona, winning the Treble and getting Argentina to the Copa America final.

  2. Mitchell Starc, Man of the Series during Australia’s Cricket World Cup win in Feb/March

  3. Djoker, won three grand slams and only lost the French Open final due to a freak performance by Warwinka.

  4. Some All-Black at the recently concluded Rugby World Cup must be in contention.

It’s 90% Americans, being an American magazine. The few non-Americans who have won have done something extraordinary (Roger Banister) or compete in a sport that Americans care strongly about or are very competitive in (Golf, Tennis, Hockey, etc.)

So no Cricketers or Rugby players are going to win. Messi - possibly. He gets a lot of coverage on ESPN and the like these days. It won’t be long before a soccer player wins or is in strong contention.

Ronda Rousey will win

Caitlyn Jenner, obviously. :wink:

I am highly biased towards seeing the Pharoah team get it. I already have 4 copies of the SI with his Belmont win on the cover.

However, I would not be surprised to see Rousey take it. The Royals as a team are also a possibility.

I guess Tom Brady is out of the question for “Sportsman” due to Deflategate!

If the Texans ever get good again (not this year!), I think J.J. Watt will be a lock.

There’s an “unwritten” rule that the winners are either involved in one of the four major professional team sports leagues in the USA (baseball, NFL, NBA, NHL), professional golf (the only two-time winner so far is Tiger Woods), college football or basketball, or someone who “represents the USA” in an international event (usually the Olympics, although both Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong have won…speaking of which, apparently there is no provision for taking the award away once it is given). The last person I can think of who wasn’t any of these was speed skater Johann Olav Koss, and even then, he shared it with Bonnie Blair.

The exceptions would then be:

1954 - Roger Bannister, British runner
1959 - Ingemar Johansson, Swedish boxer

And that’s it, if we exclude the Johann Olav Koss, Kipchoge Keino, Bob Bourne, and Sammy Sosa, who shared the award with Americans. From 1960 on the only non-Americans to win the award as individual athletes were Canadian NHL players; Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky. The only non-American to win it since Gretzky was Sammy Sosa, who shared it with Mark McGwire.

I don’t know that one can really object to this. Aside from the fact that SI is published in the USA, you have to have SOME degree of focus or else you could never even hope to have a coherent argument about the subject. At least this year one could engage in a debate over whether it should be Jordan Speith or Serena Williams or a horse. If you started getting into the best cricketer in India it’d be nearly impossible to draw any sort of comparison, which frankly is already very, very hard to do.

…except of course for the fact that we’ve got a thread in the Games Room called “2015 Sportsman of the Year” that is actually talking about a whole lot of sportsman that the rest of the world has never heard of. A better title for the thread would be “Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year”: at least then it would be clear that this thread is about the “best” American Sports person.

Right now, I’d have to say it’s likely to be Tom Brady with the Super Bowl win , the stupid deflated footballs , and the excellent season the Patriots are having this year.

I’d like to see it go to the Chicago Blackhawks for winning yet another Stanley Cup.

And on that basis, all hale to the winner, regardless of the gender or species.

But …

Including the performance of the best cricketer in India is intrinsically more difficult than ranking the performance of a golfer, a tennis player and a horse?

I HATE when SI gives it out to an entire team. To me this is an individual award; Time long ago sold out by doing something similar, awarding their “Man of the Year” to a simile.

To confirm: the award only goes to athletes who resonate with American audiences.

Carly Lloyd, American Pharaoh are my two top choices. I could live with Espinoza though. Jockeys are highly underrated athletes. Bob Baffert cant win because he’s not an athlete.

Joprdan Spieth would have been a shoe in if he won the Grand Slam. But that is so hard to do.

I love Rhonda Rousey the only way she gets a sniff at the award is if like I said before SI bails and makes “The Woman Athlete” “Sportsman/person of the Year” and lumps her in with Serena Williams and the Women’s soccer team.

I cant see Tom Brady because the deflate gate scandal.

[quote=“RickJay, post:10, topic:736420”]

The exceptions would then be:

1954 - Roger Bannister, British runner
1959 - Ingemar Johansson, Swedish boxer


You forgot one:
1963 - Jackie Stewart, Scottish Formula 1 driver

Note that the year Kip Keino won, it was under the subheading, “Athletes Who Care” - in other words, it was more for the athletes’ non-sports work. Also, when Arthur Ashe won, it wasn’t for what he did on the court - he had long since retired - but because of his battle with AIDS - and I don’t want this to sound like I am comparing changing genders with having AIDS, but these “off the field” aspects give some credibility to giving it to Caitlyn Jenner.

And I probably underestimated the non-USA contingent here when I said “Sportsman of the Year” without mentioning SI. As far as I know, it is next to impossible to subscribe to SI if you live outside of the USA.

I agree and the only reason they would pick Brady would be to make some noise and sell some magazines. Given the controversy, justified or not, it makes no sense to choose him as Sportsman of the Year.

I wasn’t reading SI during that period - did they embarrass themselves as thoroughly as ESPN on the subject? If it was anywhere close, then you’re right, they couldn’t explain picking Brady without abasing themselves more thoroughly than anyone would ever want to.

Yes, if your purpose is to sell magazines to a predominantly American audience. 98% of the US population can tell you what the basic job description of a horse, tennis player and golfer is. The opposite is likely true for a cricketer. Hell - it’s hard enough for the people who vote on such things to come to some sort of agreement on how to compare the performances of people from the same identical sport!

Sports Illustrated reporter Tim Layden makes his case for American Pharoah:


Yeah, I think American Pharaoh is the obvious choice. I would love to see Serena or Carli Lloyd (or the entire USWNT) on the cover of more magazines, but the Triple Crown win was huge in a really good year for sports.