Last weekend, I walked into my hotel room on Ireland's Dingle Peninsula, fresh from a day of driving the Irish countryside. I turned on the TV and found the USA men's basketball team playing China in the first game of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Fine, I told myself, I'll kick back and watch for a couple minutes.
Then something amazing happened. DeMarcus Cousins went in for a thunderous dunk, and the TV set -- my hotel room -- nay, the very inner core of my soul -- vibrated with a shockwave of sound triggered by that two-point slam.
But it wasn't the dunk that nearly stopped my heart cold. It was the voice of the history's greatest basketball commentator, punctuating Cousins' dunk by screaming, "BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!"
Olympics Day 1 review: DeMarcus Cousins one hand dunks. Timmy McCarthy's 'BOOMSHAKALAK' registers on Richter scale.
— Eoin Sheahan (@EoinSheahan) August 7, 2016
Just like that, I had met Timmy "Downtown" McCarthy.
Some quick research told me I was not alone in being gob-smacked by McCarthy's high-octane play-by-play. Irish television audiences are well-acquainted with his intense accounts of Olympic basketball, and his performance in the 2012 Olympics became fodder for some incredible highlight reels posted online.
Think I'm overexaggerating? Listen for yourself:
Those clips are from the 2012 Olympic Games, but they're an accurate reflection of what's happening on TV in Ireland right now. I don't think it's an exaggeration to dub RTE's Olympic basketball coverage as the greatest cross-cultural collaboration since Turkish Star Wars. McCarthy is such a wall-to-wall adrenaline rush, he makes cocaine look like a mild relaxant.
His passion for basketball is evident. McCarthy's unique turns-of-phrase are downright thrilling, especially for an American who had never seen basketball portrayed that way, and has no idea what's coming next. But Irish audiences aren't jaded by McCarthy's audacious commentary. Rather, they look forward to it.
— Niall O'Connor (@NI_ALLO) August 7, 2016
— Brendan Boylan (@BrendanBoylan) August 7, 2016
Timmy McCarthy is so excited during this Brazil-Lithuania game that he's gone past the point of using zany catchphrases.
— Eoin McDevitt (@EoinMcDevitt) August 7, 2016
— Damien O'Meara (@damien_omeara) August 6, 2016
Of course, we Americans -- make that everyone outside of Ireland -- are holding the short end of the stick on this one. RTE isn't available to most parts of the world, including the United States, which means you'll have to get creative if you want to watch basketball the way it was meant to be broadcast. I won't endorse internet piracy or other nefarious means of gaining access to restricted international media, but I'll say this: Sometimes, the crime is worth the punishment.
Alternatively, you can hop the next flight over to Ireland, hunker down in a pub and enjoy Timmy "Downtown" McCarthy among his countrymen. Until then, I'll leave you with this tribute compilation, one of the rare highlight clips you'll find on YouTube:
It's time to bring Timmy McCarthy to America. Name your price, Ireland.
More Olympic Games:
-- Carmelo Anthony: Why He's Better Player In Olympics Than NBA
-- Ghostbusters, SNL Star Leslie Jones Tweets Her Way To Olympics
-- Lilly King Calls Out Russian: 'You've Been Caught For Drug Cheating'