two basketball speeches

One is shorter; the other is longer.
One is carefully scripted; the other is more spontaneous.
One is nervous (and wooden); the other is nervous (and teary).
One is without distracting mannerism; the other has a distracting sniffle.
One hints of a riches to rags plotline (not likely!); the other has a rags to riches plotline.
One has an old man and a young girlfriend as core characters; the other has a boy and his mom.
One is carried along by controlled emotion; the other by combustible emotion.
One refers to a person leading with arrogance; the other person leads with humility.
One reveals someone with a lack of gratitude for others; the other someone full of gratitude for others.
One expresses solidarity through confession; the other expresses it through team.
One begins and ends with a person full of himself; the other begins and ends with God.

But both speeches have their own power. 
Words work. Yes, they do.

The first is a speech by the NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver. An owner of a team (Donald Sterling) has been caught on tape (to his girlfriend) making shameful comments about how she must not have her photo taken with African-Americans (one taken with Magic Johnson sparked the furore) OR bring African-Americans to games. The irony is that Sterling has made his money off the backs of great African-American basketball players - and so they are allowed on the court doing the working, but not in the stands doing the watching. Go figure!

Silver's speech is bold and decisive.
It is hard not to be impressed (even in this world of obscenely wealthy owners and administrators).

The second is a speech by this year's NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), Kevin Durant. If you are limited in time, watch the opening 4 minutes and the closing 6 minutes. I know full well that expressions of 'faith in God' can be hollow in these circumstances - but this one feels authentic, as he thanks God for 'changing his life ... saving his life'. Half of the speech is focused on thanking his teammates, one-by-one. [NB: Kiwi Steven Adams gets almost a full minute, at around the 11.00min mark]. I also like his words to his coach at about 18.00min - and then those final words to his mother cannot be missed.

Durant's speech is humble and caring.
It is hard not to be impressed (even in this world of obscenely overpaid athletes).

nice chatting


PS - If you want to explore Kevin Durant's faith a bit further, do a search on 'Durant' and 'tatoo' and check-out what he has got written all over his back and much of his front :).


Andrew R SUNZ said…
Thanks Paul. My oldest (15) son's enthusiasm for watching the playoffs has been infectious. I have caught the bug and especially for OKC, with Steven Adams playing for them. Reading this post will having watching with even more interest. Thanks for sharing. Andrew
Paul RW said…
Thanks, Andrew

I wish our sportspeople here in New Zealand could speak like this when they win awards!

Another one to watch with your son is Derrick Rose's speech when he won the same award three years ago:

They both have in common a deep love for their mothers...

Pleased to see Aaron joining your ranks down south. He is a good chap.
Jeremy said…
Hi Paul,
Thanks for posting. I mostly only follow football and I don't tend to watch the speeches as they are often shallow and only "tick the speech boxes". But this is really encouraging. It challenges me to speak openly in the moments when it's my turn to share.

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