The shortlists for the 2016 Laureus World Sports Awards were announced on Wednesday, with Stephen Curry and Jordan Spieth the two first-time nominees in the Sportsman of the Year category.
Golden State Warriors point guard Curry, 27, has emerged as the NBA's biggest star, while the 22-year-old Spieth threatened to pull off an unprecedented calendar grand slam in golf following victories at both the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015.
The two Americans have been shortlisted for the Sportsman of the Year award together with dominant tennis world number one Novak Djokovic, who claimed the prize in 2015, sprinter Usain Bolt, five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi and triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Serena Williams is again in the running for the World Sportswoman of the Year award, having received a record 10th Laureus nomination.
Last year's winner, Genzebe Dibaba - the 2015 IAAF Female Athlete of the Year - is also on the shortlist after breaking the 1,500m world record in 2015 and claiming gold and bronze medals at the world championships in Beijing.
The other nominees are skiing world champion Anna Fenninger, swimming sensation Katie Ledecky, Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Carli Lloyd, scorer of a hat-trick for the United States in the final of the Women's World Cup.
Curry's Warriors, Messi's Barcelona and the USA's victorious women's footballers are among the six nominees for the Team of the Year gong. Their competition comes from the New Zealand side that defended the Rugby World Cup, Formula One top dogs Mercedes and Great Britain's Davis Cup team, who lifted the trophy for the first time since 1936.
A further four awards will be handed out at a ceremony in Berlin on April 18, with nominees decided following a ballot of the world's media.