Top sports moments and storylines of 2015

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Best sports moments, storylines of 2015
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Top sports moments and storylines of 2015

20. MAYWEATHER-PACQUIAO FIGHT FLOPS

Remember the hype for this fight? Yeesh. It surely wasn't worth the money to watch -- and people on social media sure made their harsh opinions heard.

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

19. MAX SCHERZER’S GEM MIGHT BE BEST-PITCHED GAME EVER

Pure domination is the best way to describe right-hander Max Scherzer against the Mets as he put himself in the record books, pitching his second no-hitter of the season. The ace became the sixth pitcher with two no-hitters in the same season (including the playoffs): Roy Halladay (2010) was the last pitcher to have that distinction, with one of his no-hitters coming in the postseason. Nolan Ryan (1973), Virgil Trucks (1952), Allie Reynolds ('51) and Johnny Vander Meer (1938) were the other pitchers to throw two no-hitters in the regular season. He carried a perfect game until the sixth, struck out nine in a row at one point and totaled 17 strikeouts. 

(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

18. JOSE BAUTISTA’S BAT FLIP

In a decisive Game 5 of the ALDS, the Toronto Blue Jays and and Texas Rangers were knotted 2-2 in the seventh inning. However, a routine play went awry and a bizarre call cost the Blue Jays the lead, causing the crowd to throw beer and garbage on the field. Once the mess was cleaned and order was somewhat restored, slugger Jose Bautista launched a home run that sent the baseball world -- and Twitter, more specifically -- ablaze with the infamous 'Bat Flip Heard 'Round the World.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

17. LEAH STILL’S INSPIRING STORY

In fall of last year, former NFL player Devon Still became a role model when his devotion to his adorable daughter was highly magnified, while she was battling cancer. This past March, it was announced that little Leah Still was free of cancer. You could practically hear all of social media cheer when the Instagram post went live. 

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

16. SPORTS WORLD COMES TOGETHER TO HONOR STUART SCOTT

Sports and pop culture lost a legend in January, when Stuart Scott died of cancer at age 49. Many beautiful tributes ensued – and we still haven’t forgotten this wonderful icon. 

(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

15. KOBE SAYS GOODBYE AHEAD OF TIME

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers has decided to retire after this season. The 37-year-old Bryant made the announcement in a post on The Players' Tribune on Sunday. The decision was not totally unexpected, given that Bryant has said many times in recent weeks that he was considering making his 20th NBA season his last. There's no more wondering now.

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

14. WISCONSIN TAKES DOWN MIGHTY KENTUCKY

Kentucky boasted four NBA players and other highly recruited stars, so it was no wonder how John Calipari and the Wildcats were able to win their first 38 games. Everybody filled out their brackets in March and penciled in Kentucky as the national champ – because they were poised to become the first undefeated team since 1976 to win the NCAA Tournament. Wisconsin had other ideas. Behind Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, the Badgers upset the Wildcats 71-64 in the Final Four and shocked the world. However, Wisconsin’s dream run ended in the national championship game, in which Duke cruised to a victory. 

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

13. NOVAK DJOKOVIC CAPS EPIC YEAR

Djokovic ended 2015 with 11 titles, 82 wins and just six defeats in a haul which included three of the four majors -- the Australian and US Opens and Wimbledon. His on-court earnings of $21 million swelled his career total to a mind-boggling $94 million while the 28-year-old Serb now has 10 Grand Slam titles amongst his 59 career trophies.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Mark Leech/Getty Images)

12. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS WIN THE STANLEY CUP … AGAIN

Chicago defeated the Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning four games to two to win the franchise’s sixth championship in franchise history and third in six seasons. Tyler Johnson and Patrick Kane led the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs in points scored with 23 points each, but defenseman Duncan Keith walked away with the Conn Smythe Trophy. 

(Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

11. ROYALS END WORLD SERIES DROUGHT, DEFEAT METS

Series MVP Salvador Perez and the Royals became the first team since the 2002 Angels to come from behind in all four World Series wins, according to STATS. That's how they washed out the bitter taste of last year's Game 7 loss to San Francisco at home, an October heartbreak that drove the Royals to their singular focus all season.

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

10. OHIO STATE WINS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

After much scrutiny and debate, the College Football Playoff took shape and four teams squared off for the right to compete in the National Championship. Ohio State ended up defeating Oregon, both of which wouldn’t have made the title game had the old format still been standing. 

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

9. KYLE BUSCH CAPS OFF INCREDIBLE YEAR

On November 22, 2015, Busch won the Ford EcoBoost 400 to win his first ever Cup Series championship. Busch ended the season with five wins, twelve top fives, and sixteen top tens in only 25 starts.

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)

8. JORDAN SPIETH STEALS US OPEN

Jordan Speith made the big jump to being one of golf’s most celebrated superstars – and stealing the US Open certainly helped. After leading the field for the majority of the tournament, Dustin Johnson needed to sink a short birdie putt to force a playoff round. He barely missed – and Speith escaped with the victory. 

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

7. WARRIORS DOMINATES THE NBA

Remember when the Golden State Warriors were a joke? Now that the squad is armed with superstar Stephen Curry, All-Star Klay Thompson and Mr. Everything Draymond Green, alongside a cast of great role players, the team has proven to be the most exciting in the NBA. Golden State’s high-octane offense was too much for the Cleveland Cavaliers and it went on to clinch the NBA Finals in six games this past June – and recently started the new campaign 24-0 –yes, 24-0 – before falling to the Milwaukee Bucks. We’ll find out if the team is a true threat the the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record for wins in a regular season with 72. 

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

6. RONDA ROUSEY FALLS TO HOLLY HOLM

We haven’t seen an athlete dominate his or her sport quite like Ronda Rousey. She became a larger-than-life icon who transformed into a fighter we thought was invincible. Only, Holly Holm took down Rousey in November with a swift kick to the face and the UFC Women’s Bantamweight title was swapped. Some fans on Twitter figured the shock and awe from the bout was akin to when Muhammad Ali lost. 

(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

5. LAUREN HILL INSPIRES US

Lauren Hill was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma in 2013 when she was a senior in high school. The rare brain tumor was inoperable, but Hill persisted in playing on her high school team despite chemotherapy treatments.

She had already committed to play for Mount St. Joseph when she was diagnosed. In October, the school received permission from the NCAA to move up its first scheduled game so Hill could play.

In front of a sellout crowd, many wearing T-shirts bearing her name and slogan, "Never Give Up," watched the ballplayer score the first two points and the final layup of the game.

Hill died on April 10, 2015. She was honored with the "Best Moment" Award at the annual 2015 ESPY Awards and her parents, Brent and Lisa Hill, accepted the award on her behalf.

(AP Photo/Tom Uhlman, File)

4. USWNT CAPTURES THE WORLD’S ATTENTION EN ROUTE TO CUP

In one of the most dominating cup final performances you will ever see, the United States came out and absolutely annihilated Japan from the first whistle of the Women's World Cup final, scoring four goals in the first 16 minutes of the match en route to a 5-2 final score. This was their record third World Cup title.

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

3. PATRIOTS WIN THRILLING SUPER BOWL XLIX

Was this the best Super Bowl ever played? Well, you could make a serious case. The Seahawks led the Patriots 24-14 entering the fourth quarter, but Tom Brady and company mounted an impressive comeback and claimed a four-point lead with two minutes left. Backed by Russell Wilson, Seattle drove down the field to the one-yard line and all it needed was to hand off to All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch for a score. Instead, Wilson dropped back, and tried to pass – only to find that New England rookie Malcolm Butler grabbed a near-impossible interception to seal the 28-24 win.  

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

2. SERENA WILLIAMS’ RUN

After one of the most captivating and dominant runs in sports history, In the US Open semifinals, Serena Williams suffered a shocking upset to unranked Roberta Vinci to knock her out of the tournament and cost her a shot at the Grand Slam.

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

1. AMERICAN PHAROAH WINS THE TRIPLE CROWN

Before this year, so many fans figured they’d never see a Triple Crown in their lifetime. That all changed when American Pharoah capped off one of the most thrilling runs in sports history. He won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont en route to accomplishing the rare feat for the first time since 1978.

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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We watch for the moments -- the ones that make us cheer, laugh, cry or scream. Sports trigger emotions in a way few things in life can. If you think about it, this past year has been filled with incredible storylines that encompassed a wide array of feelings.

As part of an on-going series that highlights the best of 2015 in sports, we take at look at the biggest and most influential people, teams and moments that stuck with us through the year and remain as memories we'll never forget.

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