His name was Jonah Lomu

Written By: - Date published: 4:10 pm, November 18th, 2015 - 26 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

Push aside Carter and Richie for just one moment. Let’s just take a couple of steps back, give a guy some respect.

There has only been one sport in which New Zealand gets to dive into Rabelaisean abandon, and there will probably only ever be one. And there’s a reason for that.

There many professional players before him, but he alone and by his performance alone could persuade Rupert Murdoch to take this otherwise obscure postcolonial mudbath and turn it into a global sport.

There have been many All Blacks who started young, but he was our youngest ever. As for tackling him, well, in the words of All Black Michael Jones, “It’s better to give than to receive.” Ask Will Carling.

He was not even the first Tongan-descended All Black – there have been several, including Carl Hoeft and others. But it was he alone that made Pacific Island Rugby Player into a class of its own.

There are many who will argue whether he was New Zealand’s greatest Rugby Player. But due to the Rugby World Cup, he will always be the only player to have truly broken Rugby into the globally professional era.

In doing so, he became the outstanding role model for Pacific males trying to break out of disadvantage. Public education would never again be New Zealand’s primary escalator for Pacifica to get rich, and famous, and stand astride the world.

His force, skill, and televisual presence made the All Blacks into the global brand that it now is, a brand of true value to the most powerful broadcasters and sports equipment companies in the world. He was our multimillionaire boy made good. He was our Muhammad Ali.

We don’t have to worry about what he could have been. Some are destined to speed across our firmament bright and to burn out just as fast, and to be that bright line of our minds forever. He was one of those.

Remember him. His name was Jonah Lomu.

26 comments on “His name was Jonah Lomu”

  1. Atiawa 1

    Well said.

    RIP Jonah.

  2. James 2

    Nice post.

    He was a hell of a player and I enjoyed seeing him in his prime. I had even more respect for him after watching him in “this is your life”.

    He was a great ambassador for the sport I love, and a real life hero for so many.

    He will be missed more than perhaps any other All Black.

    —–

    I put this lower so as not to link it with my genuine thoughts on the matter – But it would be great if everybody could keep comments respectful and not make it a political, as so often happens (not pointing at anyone or any side).

  3. Reginald Perrin 3

    Just imagine how good he could have been had Nephrotic Syndrome not laid him low in 1996-7 at the height of his powers.

    RIP Jonah, and thanks for the wonderful memories.

  4. Grindlebottom 4

    Yep. RIP Jonah.

  5. Sabine 5

    It was so much fun watching him play.
    So sad. RIP

  6. rawshark-yeshe 6

    Magnificent Kauri; felled too soon. RIP Jonah.

  7. tracey 7

    Sad. Thoughts to his wife and very young children, who like him, will grow up Dad-less.

  8. Gangnam Style 8

    Respect.

  9. GregJ 9

    RIP Jonah #941.

    His life, like his career, ended far too soon but it was a life, like his career, of impact and spirit. At his heart I think he was just a straightforward New Zealand boy who wanted to play the sport he was so talented at with simple passion and joie de’vivre but who ended up transcending sport to be something else. Thanks for the memories Jonah.

  10. tinfoilhat 10

    So sad.

    RIP Jonah.

    [lprent: You punched in the wrong email. Corrected it. ]

  11. mike 11

    Jonah made us proud of him.
    For his spectacular exploits on the field and his personal heroism off it.

  12. North 12

    I am very sad. Poor Jonah. 40. Heart to those wee boys and family.

  13. ropata 13

    My tweet:

    Farewell to #JonahLomu, gentle giant, rugby phenomenon, and a beloved Kiwi #RIPJonah (image by Murray Webb, RWC '95) pic.twitter.com/IOLqzRMZ7a— ɥɔsǝdɐd qoɹ (@ropata) November 18, 2015

    A couple of others I liked:

    bleed black = to be a true New Zealander #JonaLomu #kiwi #slang— Slang in New Zealand (@slangkiwi) November 18, 2015

    This is lovely on Lomu. Oscar Kightley from a few weeks ago; Jonah the giant https://t.co/qoYrCDcDfQ— JeremyReesnz (@JeremyReesnz) November 18, 2015

    Vale. The most extraordinary player I ever saw. JONAH LOMU, Dead at 40 https://t.co/gXBQvmMiSD via @smh— OzRepublic FitzSimon (@Peter_Fitz) November 18, 2015

  14. pipalbany 14

    It is underestimated just how famous and responsible the brand Jonah was for the popularity and explosion of Rugby. Special.

  15. veutoviper 15

    I am not a rugby person, so I will leave that side to others.

    I first met Jonah through/at neighbors when he and Grant were recovering from their operations for Grant’s donation of a kidney to Jonah. I found him a person who struck a cord with me for his sincerity and humility. I met him once or twice again through the same contacts; but what really impressed me was the support he went on to give to others, and the organisations who support people, with kidney problems – in particular Kidney Kids.

    Thank you and Kia kaha, Jonah.

  16. ropata 17

    Stories going around Counties clubs when Jonah’s star was rising…

    Before the game started, the Wesley College first XV would group in a circle and chant “JONAH, JONAH, JONAH, …” and then Lomu would come charging out of the changing sheds like a wounded bull

    During a game, Jonah laughed at anyone who tried to tackle him and would then run straight over the top of them…

    My Dad was heavily involved in Counties Manukau rugby and really admired the way Jonah stayed with the fans for ages after the game and signed everything

  17. roy cartland 18

    “Ohh, Ohh,” my boy. “Ohh, Ohh.”

  18. ropata 19

    Brilliant story from @CliveWoodward on Today this morning. #JonahLomu pic.twitter.com/iyAaAA8geq— Stig Abell (@StigAbell) November 18, 2015

  19. SaveOurNix 20

    Loved your post Ad. RIP Jonah Lomu

  20. ropata 21

    legends of the game discuss Lomu

  21. millsy 22

    Talent. Raw talent.

    Sums up Jonah.

    Also had a respect for the AB jersey that was lacking in his peers at the time, when he decided not to follow them into Kerry Packer’s WRC circus.

    The guy had his haters though. They may not admit it, but it all comes down to the fact that he was not a Canterbury farmer.

    • Morrissey 22.1

      Joseph Romanos was one of those haters. He wrote several disparaging, nasty columns in the Listener about what he reckoned was Jonah’s lack of intellect. Jamie Mackay, the Southland rugby commentator, also wrote some extremely nasty and prejudiced comments about Jonah in the Southland Times.

  22. esoteric pineapples 23

    “He was our Muhammad Ali.”

    That might be stretching it. Muhammad Ali earned his reputation for two things – his skill as a boxer and his willingness to speak out and make enemies for doing so. He even was sentenced to prison for refusing to fight in Vietnam. The only political view I recall from Jonah was an illegal tweet supporting John Key and National for which he should have been in some way censured.

    Sorry to bring this up when his achievements should undoubtedly be celebrated but a fact is a fact.

  23. Smilin 24

    Undoubtedly the greatest icon in the game ,he was the first to make our game the worlds standard to be attained by all countries .Like Jordan, Ali,changed the world view on their sport
    RIP Jonah: we wont forget you , you are as great in our history as the other great warriors who gave their lives for NZ

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