At some stage during last year’s hurling Championship, Pat Horgan of Cork overtook Joe Canning as the leading all time scorer in the sport. The Galway ace having himself usurped none other than Christy Ring (I think).
But here’s the thing. ‘Hoggie’ just trotted back to his position. No fanfare, no whooping or hollering. He just went for the next ball. Probably pointed it too. Now switch sports.
More recently, Harry Kane achieved the not-inconsiderable feat of passing out Jimmy Greaves and becoming Tottenham Hotspur’s greatest marksman. No matter what one might think of him in some ways, the gracious, understated way in which he deflected deserved adulation is a mark of the man.
Then there’s poor old Simon Zebo. Munster’s record try scorer – a mantle he assumed from the late, great Anthony Foley. He must wonder why he came back from France.
Notwithstanding the fact he has been cursed by injuries, how he has fallen so far down the pecking order in Thomond Park is both hard to fathom and sad to see.
If you haven’t seen it already, consider all of the above and then head over to YouTube and see the hysteria which greeted LeBron James’ coronation as the greatest scorer NBA has ever seen.
A remarkable achievement no doubt and one which – even at 37 years of age – he is likely to embellish as he shows no signs of slowing down. However, even by American standards, the reaction to his accomplishment of the feat was utterly ridiculous.
Receiving the adulation of his on-court colleagues in the immediate aftermath of the historic score was both understandable and great to see. But having photos taken with them, his wife, his children and even the NBA Commisioner Adam Silver DURING the match was pure lunacy.
Hail the man’s achievement by all means, but Jesus lads do it with a bit of class. Not least out of respect to their opponents on the night. Former Dublin footballer Philly McMahon is somebody I’ve developed enormous respect for. Honestly, even more so since the Ballymun warrior hung up his inter county boots.
It is not being disingenuous to say that Philly has, at one point in his life, crossed a road less travelled. To his utmost credit, he has deployed his life experience towards the betterment of life for others.
Which is why his labelling of the antics by and around the LA Lakers after LeBron broke the scoring record as ’embarrassing’ should be heeded. It’s a culture thing. The notion that top level sportspeople are role models. Particularly for the young.
Now, the role model concept is not something that washes in this corner. I can’t stand it in fact. Maybe that’s just in an Irish context, mind you. For certain sections of society, symbolism is highly important.
Philly’s journey, outstandingly recalled in his memoir The Choice is an illustration of exactly that – there is a choice as to what road we go down in life. And though, in sporting terms, their roles are still evolving, both men’s stories are not dissimilar.
Even though the Lakers will be doing well to make the Play Offs this season, gut feeling in this seat is that James might have a bit more left in the tank. As for McMahon, he has already began coaching/advising in soccer with Bohemians.
Moreover, he has made no secret of the fact that he wants to into management in GAA down the line. Whether LeBron would ever go into coaching I don’t know, but he still has plenty more to offer.
In ways, McMahon and James come from two very different worlds. But there are telling similarities between the two as well. And both stories have more chapters still to be added.