In honour of St. Patrick’s Day last weekend, let’s take a look at the top ten active athletes with roots in the Emerald Isle.
(NFL – QB, New England Patriots)
When measuring greatness in sports, the bar is undoubtedly set by Tom Brady. With a plethora of records to his name and a trophy room the size of the Parthenon, Brady is currently the best Irish athlete in North America. Even at the age of 34, Tom Brady’s play hasn’t skipped a beat.
(MLB – SS, New York Yankees)
A consummate professional, Derek Jeter has been the face of baseball’s “Evil Empire” for over a decade. In terms of awards, Jeter has amassed five World Series titles and Gold Glove Awards for his positional excellence, to name a few.
Phelps put forth an inspiring performance at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics by nabbing eight gold medals. With the 2012 London Games just around the corner, Michael Phelps has one last chance to further cement himself in swimming glory, and as the human incarnation of Aquaman.
(NHL – RW, Chicago Blackhawks)
When he’s not busy getting in trouble with the law, Kane is one of the pure snipers in hockey. The former number one overall pick is quick, versatile, and can pick any corner of the net with his precision shooting. He also gets bonus points for impersonating Superman at the All-Star Breakaway Challenge.
(NHL – C, Boston Bruins)
No, that is not a typo. His father’s side hails from Ireland and while he dropped the name on the back of his jersey, Lord Stanley’s Cup proudly carries the Cleary name. Bergy is not the flashiest player, but he is the straw that stirs the Bruins’ offence with his phenomenal two-way play and faceoff prowess.
(NHL – RW, New York Rangers)
The captain of the Blueshirts is having a career year. Much like Bergeron, Callahan is also known for his defensive responsibilities and for elevating his linemates’ play. Time will tell if Ryan can guide the Rangers to a Stanley Cup victory this summer.
(WWE -Professional wrestler)
I know what you’re thinking; pro wrestling is not a sport. Nonetheless, WWE wrestlers must be at peak physical shape to withstand the rigours of piledrivers, suplexes, and chair shots. Cena deserves an honorable mention for his tireless work ethic and athletic abilities.
(NBA – PG, Dallas Mavericks)
Kidd reached the pinnacle of his career last year when he won his first NBA championship as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Kidd has experienced glory on numerous occasions with the U.S. national team at both the Olympic and World Championship levels, but nothing can rival the satisfaction of winning the big one in the world’s top basketball league.
(NHL – LW, Boston Bruins)
Other than #22, you would be hard pressed to find an Irish athlete that presents the ensemble of intangibles. What Thornton lacks in skills, he makes up for with his grittiness, hustle, and brawling affluence. Every good hockey team requires someone of Thornton’s calibre who wears the jersey on his sleeve. Oh, and he also two Cup rings and sports a wicked handlebar mustache.
(NBA – SF, Cleveland Cavaliers)
The son of NBA legend Bill Walton, Luke hasn’t lived up to his father’s lofty accomplishments, but he has still managed to win two NBA championships as a Laker. Unfortunately, he was recently shipped to Cleveland this past trade deadline. Who knows, he just might be the second coming of LeBron James.