Five Sports Legends Who Delivered Commencement Addresses
By Grace Lee
It’s college graduation season, which means commencement speeches! LA84 intern Grace Lee has been studying up on addresses from prominent sporting figures, and put together five top examples. See and read their speeches below.
1) Magic Johnson – Retired Los Angeles Lakers star, current Lakers President of Basketball Operations, 1992 Olympic gold medalist
Commencement Address at Michigan State University, 2010
“You can’t control if your boss will like you or not, but you can control if your boss respects you or not. And how can you do that? By being the first one to work and the last one to leave.”
2) Anita L. DeFrantz – LA84 President Emeritus, International Olympic Committee Executive Board member, LA 2024 Senior Advisor for Legacy, 1976 Olympic bronze medalist (rowing)
Commencement Address at Connecticut College, 2004
“… our challenge is to live the final stanza of a song you have heard or sung hundreds of times … land of the free and the home of the brave!”
3) Vin Scully – Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster, 1950-2016
Commencement Address at Pepperdine University, 2008
“The biggest menace to a man’s success is a willingness — is a perfect willingness to excuse his own mistakes.”
4) Billie Jean King – Hall of Fame tennis player, 12-time Grand Slam singles champion, Founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, World TeamTennis and the Women’s Sports Foundation
Commencement Address at the University of Massachusetts, 2000
“Every ball that comes to me is a decision. Do I slice it, do I hit cross-court, do I hit topspin, do I hit sidespin, do I lob? What do I do? But I have to accept responsibility for that. And that’s where sports teaches us to put it on the line, so to speak, and live it. And here remember one thing. It’s everyone’s responsibility to lead, to honor, and to fight, for everyone’s basic rights, for equality.”
Watch King’s 2013 speech at Williams College below.
5) Eric Garcetti – Mayor of Los Angeles, member of LA 2024 Olympic bid
Commencement Address at Columbia University, 2015
“Live the good life for you and live to find the good life for others. If you do so, this education and this experience won’t just be four great years of your life. It will be your life.”
Visit LA84’s News & Features page for more exciting content!