Best Sports Speeches

I’ve always loved speeches and ones given by athletes, coaches, and other important sports figures are especially touching to me. Here are some (but certainly not all) of my favorites.

1. Lou Gehrig Farewell Speech

It’s a short and sweet type speech but the emotion is so evident. Lou Gehrig was such a great baseball player who had gained so much respect from the Yankees fans over the years. It’s such a famous speech that’s had such an impact and is still celebrated to this day. It’s incredibly quotable and thoughtful to say the least.

2. Jimmy V Speech

Yet another powerful speech from somebody that knew they may not have much time left on Earth. The speech is filled with pathos and was actually used by my English teacher when we were learning about pathos, ethos, and logos because Jimmy uses pathos in such a natural way that really is showcased in his extremely touching delivery. You’ve got to love the heart of this legendary coach, who never lost his vibrant personality even in his final days. This will always be my go to video when I need an extra dose of heart and motivation.

3. Kevin Durant MVP Speech

This was a much more recent speech but still a memorable one. Kevin Durant was the NBA MVP last season and this was his rather long yet touching acceptance speech. The most memorable parts were where he talks fondly of his mother, who is in the crowd beaming up at her son. It’s evident how grateful Durant is to his mom, who he notes did everything possible to make sure he and his brother had a roof over their heads and that they weren’t out in the streets. It’s always nice to see such a humble and gracious player.

4. Stuart Scott ESPY Speech

This popular beloved ESPN announcer lost his fight to cancer early in January. Last summer, he accepted an award at the ESPY’s in the name of Jimmy V, the guy I previously mentioned who gave a famous speech and also lost his battle to cancer. This is such an awesome speech because of the manner that Scott carries himself. He had such a natural grace about him and you can’t help but love that. He was also just a great storyteller and his shout out to Jimmy V made me bawl my eyes out.

5. Rickey Henderson Hall Of Fame Speech

Henderson is a player known for his rather cocky personality on the field. This speech is mostly memorable for how humble he was in it. My favorite part about it is the hilarious personal stories that he adds here. I think it’s hilarious that he had to be bribed in order for him to play baseball.

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“I Hate Christian Laettner” Review

This 30 for 30 or ESPN film, whichever name you prefer, looks at one of the most hated college athletes in the history of the game. It explores many different reasons why the hate for Christian Laettner was so serious. After all, he was just a kid, what did he ever really do to deserve the hate? The film talks to many different people including Christian Laettner himself, his family, Coach K, Coach K’s wife, past teammates, the Fab Five, opponents of his, and many different authors, reporters, etc who wrote books and stories about their hate. Many different perspectives were offered during this film which is what I’ve always loved most about documentaries- especially sports documentaries.

The first reason that they look at is that Laettner was perceived as a rich kid because he attended Duke University and a prep school before that. In reality, Laettner came from a middle class family. His mom was a teacher and his dad was a journalist. He couldn’t afford prep school but they offered a type of work study where he would work these dirty type jobs extremely early in the morning in exchange for his tuition. He only went to Duke because Coach K offered him a full scholarship. This alone gave me personally some new respect for the guy. He didn’t have anything handed to him, he worked for everything he had which is something worthy of respect.

Another reason why people hate Laettner is that he’s a white kid. Some people thought he might be racist or view black people differently since the only black guys on his basketball team were called “Uncle Tom” and things of that sort. Laettner was actually extremely tolerant of other races, maybe even was more against white people than black. His teammates bragged on how impressed they were with his style and his knowledge of hip-hop.

The third reason explored was that he was a bully who preyed on the weak. I actually laughed out loud because they used Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift as the image for a bully. Yes, Laettner was an animal on the court and he was certainly a big trash talker. The way he carried himself and seemed to get away with so much stuff other players wouldn’t get away with was extremely disheartening and irritating. But he also seemed like a good teammate and actually a cool guy off the court. He just knew how to get under people’s skin.

After watching this documentary, I learned a lot about the background of this guy that got such a terrible reputation over the years. I think it’s sad how much people disliked him and how far some people took it. Like it’s actually ridiculous that his 12-year-old sister was called a whore just for being his sister. Like what did she ever do to deserve that? Sometimes the hatred people have isn’t rational and is fairly upsetting. Ultimately, people hated how good he was and I love that the documentary explored that. But I think it wasn’t just one sided, it also showed the reasons behind why people hate him by talking to the sources directly. Overall, it’s one of my favorite ESPN films.

Top Sports Documentaries

These are some of my favorite sports documentaries of all time. I’ve tried to include many different sports in this list but I’m sure I left some out so let me know if I forgot any of your favorites!

1. Undefeated

This documentary won an Oscar for Best Documentary and it’s not hard to see why. It follows an inner city high school in Memphis that’s run by a volunteer coach. The stories of these individual players is so touching and interesting. It just gives audiences a lot of insight into the struggles that these kids have to deal with. This is a documentary that’s pretty impossible not to cry over.

2. Baseball

One of the best documentaries about baseball and an extremely long one at that. It’s a very in depth look at the history of baseball. It makes sure to stick as close to the dates and important decades in the sport as possible. As a whole, it’s just a fun documentary that teaches you a lot about all of the players and dates that are significant for baseball.

3. The Endless Summer

A timeless documentary that changed the direction of surfing documentaries right around. It takes a unique first person point of view that had a way of making audiences feel that they were actually apart of the story. Bruce Brown’s approach to filming and narrating in this feature in general was something that we hadn’t yet seen. He also showed that the theory “less is more” can be a relevant one when used by the right filmmaker.

4. Hoop Dreams

This is a long one but it’s far from boring, the length is perfect for you to get involved in the lives of these two high school basketball players who have dreams of playing in the NBA. That plot sounds like a simple one, what basketball player doesn’t have that dream? But as you take a closer look, you realize the racial and economic challenges that these two African American boys have to deal with. It becomes a lot more about their lives outside of the sport and that’s what keeps you at the edge of your seat the entire time.

5. 30 for 30: Fab Five

ESPN 30 for 30 films never disappoint. They always manage to tell such fascinating stories from various points of view. This one in particular revealed a lot about how these underprivileged boys were given the opportunity to play basketball at Michigan. At the time, they came off as being “cocky” and “punks” but this gives us more insight as four of the boys (Chris Webber didn’t want to be apart of it) were interviewed as well as other coaches and reporters around during this time. I gained a lot of respect for them after watching this and seeing how much they truly changed culture and what people thought about them.

6. 30 for 30: Into The Wind

30 for 30 isn’t typically known for being so emotional and heartbreaking. Most of the time, just the facts are being presented and it isn’t exactly tear jerking. However, this story about Terry Fox is bound to make even the hardest of hearts shed a few tears. Canadian Terry Fox was a big runner when his leg was amputated at the age of 19 because of cancer. In 1980, he ends up running across Canada on one leg. His relentless work ethic and pure love for running is so heartwarming and inspiring.

7. We Could Be King

An inspiring look at two Philadelphia rival schools being forced to combine their football programs due to budget cuts. The horrors that these kids go through is really emotional. One of the boys Dontae is a big guy who is extremely sensitive and it breaks your heart when the boy struggles with reading out loud. The coach himself is also an inspiration, he began helping these boys after his close friend was murdered. He wanted to help these boys get away from the realities of their lives and focus on the sport they all love.

8. The Battered Bastards Of Baseball

The Portland Mavericks were an independent team owned by Bing Russell, father of actor Kurt Russell who also did some acting himself. The movie is hilarious but also touching to see these underdogs rise to the top in such hilarious fashion. The people interviewed including Kurt Russell, a batboy, players, coaches, Kurt’s mom, and many more give us new dimensions to the story.

 

Best Sports Blogs

For those that love sports, it can be important to find the right sports blogs to keep up with and get the latest news stories. Most of us already have our favorite websites already discovered, but here are some other suggestions. These may be ones you already know so in that case, just ignore me! I just thought it’d be a good topic to discuss here and share some of the sites that I get a lot of my personal sports coverage from. If you can think of any other blogs I missed, be sure to let me know!

Bleacher Report

This is a good tool for having some of the best and most unique lists that focus on some of the hottest topics and players in every sport. It also has specific news and you can add your favorite teams and get the latest updates sent straight to your phone so you never miss out on any stories.

Grantland

Probably my personal favorite because it manages to talk about the latest news in sports but it also has pop culture news too. I think it does a great job at being well rounded and not being strictly sports. So if you’re a person that likes hearing stories and interviews about the latest movies and TV shows, definitely check this one out if you aren’t already. I find myself constantly checking this website because it’s such a great source.

SB Nation

This is another one that does a good job at focusing on particular sports and you can pick your favorites. It also has specific blogs for different teams which I find really cool and helpful. This is definitely a good source and it also has scores which is always a good source if you’re on the go and can’t watch a game.

ESPN

Okay this one is super obvious. However, it’s also essential when you’re talking about websites that cover sports. This is the obvious source for the latest scores and news going on in the sports world. Sometimes it can be annoying when certain stories that you want to read are for ESPN Insider users only. That’s why you should also take advantage of some of these other blogs that cover pretty much the same information except maybe with just slighter different points of view.