The 5 Coolest Sports Personalities Of 2015

Determining who the coolest people are in sports is an intensely personal thing.

Over the course of the last four-plus years, we've had five editors, 20-plus writers and various other special contributors who have made TSFJ happen. However, there have only been two people who have determined who "The Coolest" of a given year are. That decision has been reserved for the founders of this site, Kenny Masenda and yours truly, Eddie Maisonet.

This year, instead of five articles for the five coolest of 2015, we decided to concede to common sense and condense it into one piece. We are not the sole arbiters of cool. However, this is what "cool" looks like in our eyes, and beyond that cool, the five people we selected were chosen over heated debate, fervent text messages and a few (hundred) curse words.

The reality is that Kenny and I are yin and yang. Good cop and bad cop. Bert and Ernie. Democrat and Republican. We are brothers, and yet at times we can be at opposite ends of the spectrum. Therefore, the five coolest of 2015 somehow qualified through the prerequisites that our minds put before the many personalities on the ballot. The final five survived this list through a war of attrition more than anything else.

Here are the five coolest sports personalities of 2015 — let there be no debate on what defines the trillest of the year.

Chef Curry And The Road To Becoming A Champion

Coming into the 2014-15 season, the Golden State Warriors were not on my radar as a team to be reckoned with. They had one player I loved in Draymond Green and other players I liked such as Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson. Steph Curry is someone I appreciated from afar and whose game I was a fan of, but it wasn’t until 2015 when I saw how much of a dog on the court Curry truly is.

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 07: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game Two of the 2015 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 7, 2015 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 07: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game Two of the 2015 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 7, 2015 in Oakland, California.(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

If there is any particular athlete who snatched a sport and held it in the palm of its hand this year, it’s Steph. He led the Warriors to a 67-win season en route to the championship. He’s even better this season and is on his way to winning the MVP again.

He’s placed himself in the small legion of players who have changed the game so much that people are having debates about him possibly hurting the game (for the record, I agree with Mark Jackson and his assessment). The fact that people are having these discussions lets the public know how important Curry is in today’s NBA. He pulls the trigger from 30 feet, chops people up with his dribble, and does with it flair and absolutely no fear. Hell, the man is finding a way to make Under Armour hooping shoes cool for God's sake. Steph Curry is here to stay, ladies and gentlemen, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. —Kenny

Conor McGregor And The Luck Of The Irish

In historical terms, “the luck of the Irish” refers to the gold and silver rush years during the second half of the 19th century, when miners of Irish and Irish American birth made a fortune off of mining. As with the miners who earned fortune, they also had their share of haters along the way.

While the rise of Conor McGregor shouldn’t be confused with the efforts of the miners during a previous time, the term “luck of the Irish” fits the bill for one of the five coolest of 2015, because not only did he continue to build on previous efforts of years past, but he collected plenty of player haters along the way.

Conor McGregor was named 2015's Fighter of the Year by ESPN and MMA Weekly.
Conor McGregor was named 2015's Fighter of the Year by ESPN and MMA Weekly.

McGregor is not on this list solely because of his dominance in the Octagon. He is not on this list solely because he stays dressed in the finest of suits and drives the flyest of cars. He is not on this list solely because his proclamations of what he would do to Jose Aldo in UFC 193 rival proclamations made my Cassius Clay in the mid-1960s leading up to his bout with Sonny Liston. No, Conor McGregor is on this list because of his unwavering and unapologetic belief in himself. He’s immersed himself into the fight game, and what the public sees is not only a result of timing, precision and hard work, but also a result of what happens when a human being believes in his ability to be great and be legendary. —Kenny

Cam Newton Dabbed His Way Into The Heart Of America

Let's be very clear about something right now. Nothing about "The Dab" is cool. It is a combination of nonsensical choreographed gyrations that climaxes with a Dee Brown-esque elbow flexing that also looks like a Hulk Hogan pose to his Hulkamanics.

When a person like Cam Newton takes ownership of something so benign and irrelevant like The Dab, it gives it life that it never imagined. It's all about what Auburn's greatest quarterback represents and how he carries it on a daily basis.

Yes, Cam is one of the most confident individuals this earth has ever witnessed, but that quasi-arrogance allows one to throw 50-yard touchdown bullets to borderline inept wide receivers like Ted Ginn Jr. That child-like ignorance is what makes one willing to subject oneself to leaping over a pile of 300-pound superhumans to allow a mediocre offensive unit to be one of the greatest single-season teams in NFL history. That ability to transcend whatever others label you to be means that regardless of a possible 15-yard penalty, anyone who reps what he reps gets a football after a touchdown. Or a physically disabled kid gets to hit that stanky leg with Superman. Or maybe a kid affiliated with the Make-A-Wish Foundation makes sure to get a personal conversation before a huge nationally televised contest.

God bless The Dab.
God bless The Dab.

The Dab represents everything that many are afraid of when they see Cam Newton. In the same breath, The Dab is perfection. As it's only hit once great achievement has been completed. Cam Newton is an achiever, and you should be one too. —Ed

Seth Rollins And The Building Of An Architect

Seth Rollins had quite the year in 2015. It started with a bang, and while it ended sooner than anyone anticipated due to a freak accident in the ring, he did plenty in between to make his inclusion on this list more than worthy.

All hail the WWE's leading face/heel, Seth Rollins.

From competing in a triple threat match at The Rumble against John Cena and Brock Lesnar to cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 31, whenever Rollins was on the card, he found a way to win. Think about it: While Rollins got pinned by Brock at The Rumble, people still rave about his show-stealing performance, and while he lost the opening match at Mania to Randy Orton, he closed the same show by winning the title in a match that originally began as a one-on-one between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.

Rollins held his own each and every week on Raw and continued to get his shine on once a month during events such as Payback, SummerSlam and more. He even received the fan vote for Superstar of the Year at the 2015 Slammy Awards, despite his portrayal as a heel and being out for damn near the last two months of the year. Seth Rollins is proof that even when he lost, he still won. —Kenny

All Hail The Queen Of 2015: Serena Jameka Williams

I'm crazy about Serena Williams, and if you're not ... man, you're just not a fun person I want to hang around with.

Serena is a dancing machine. A shit-talking queen. A one-of-a-kind extrovert who lives life one backhand and forehand swing at a time. Good grief, did you see that Sports Illustrated cover? Did you see that New York Magazine cover? Who has the temerity, unmitigated gall and the audacity to be so brazen in front of millions (and millions) of people in such a way?

The reality is Serena is cool regardless of the two Grand Slams that she won in 2015, not just because of them. She's cool because she's aware of how the world sees her, especially the segment of folks who view her body type as something that she should be ashamed of, instead of something that should be savored and appreciated. She's empowering others who don't fit the ideal, who don't fit a stereotype, who never would have access to the mold that seems to breed success.

Serena Williams was the first woman to be named SI's Sportswoman of the year in 33 years.
Serena Williams was the first woman to be named SI's Sportswoman of the year in 33 years.

Serena was named Sports Illustrated's Sportswoman of the Year in 2015, the first woman to ever do it in 33 years of the award. The reality is the little girl from Compton showed the world that we, in the words of Kendrick Lamar, are going to be "Alright," regardless of what others say about us. Isn't that what our mothers and fathers said when we were little? Serena just served us another reminder to return across the net. —Ed

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