The Top 10 Greatest Sports Speeches Ever

Drake Oz@drakeozbrSenior Writer IIDecember 2, 2010

The Top 10 Greatest Sports Speeches Ever

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    Sports may often be considered nothing more than a silly game, but they've played a major role in our society.

    Sports have excited. They've disappointed. They've turned immature boys and girls into exceptional men and women.

    Sometimes sports truly transcend anything they were ever supposed to accomplish.

    Like sports speeches tend to do.The message is often simply, but they motivate, they uplift, they inspire.

    We're here to take a look at some of the greatest speeches that have managed to stick with sports fans longer than anyone ever would have imagined.

    Here they are, the 10 greatest speeches in sports history.

10. Tim Tebow:

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    Following an upset loss at the hands of Ole Miss, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow made a pledge to Gators fans:

    "To the fans and everybody in Gator Nation, I'm sorry. I'm extremely sorry. We were hoping for an undefeated season. That was my goal, something Florida has never done here. I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season. You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season. God Bless."

    People like to make fun of this speech, but it will forever be remembered in Gainesville--it's memorialized on a plaque there.

    Tebow put the loss completely on his shoulders, and this is just one more reason why he'll go down as one of the greatest college football players of all-time.

9. Muhammad Ali:

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    One of the most magnificent Muhammad Ali quotes ever came when the self-proclaimed "Greatest of All-Time" boasted, "I'm young, I'm handsome, I'm fast, I'm pretty, and can't possibly be beat.

    But that was more sporadic jawing than it was a prepared speech.

    Watch the whole video, and you'll see Ali's speech prior to his fight with George Foreman.

    Ali claims that he wrassled with gators, tussled with whales and "done handcuffed lightning and throwed thunder in jail."

    What else would you expect from one of the greatest trash talkers ever?

8. Herb Brooks:

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    In 1980, a group of no-name collegiate hockey players had the insurmountable task of taking down the almighty USSR in the Olympic semifinals.

    The Americans pulled out the win in that game, in what was later dubbed "The Miracle on Ice." It is widely considered to be the greatest upset in sports history.

    Prior to that game, head coach Herb Brooks delivered an inspirational speech to a team that no one thought had a chance of winning that game.

    In the video above, actor Kurt Russell reenacts the speech in the movie Miracle, and this is what he said:

    "Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that's what you have here, tonight, boys. That's what you've earned here tonight. One game. If we played 'em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It's over. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw 'em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it."

7. Darrell Green:

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    Darrell Green has arguably the greatest opening line in the history of Hall of Fame speeches: "Deacon Jones said I'm going to cry. You bet your life I'm going to cry!"

    And cry he did.

    Green spoke candidly about his parents, both already deceased at the time, specifically addressing one instance with his father, Leonard Green, who always believed in him when no one else did

    "They said no, but he said 'go.'"

    That's what Green did; he went right into the Hall of Fame.

    And he wasn't the only one crying that day.

6. Jim Mora:

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    This one's pretty self-explanatory, and I had to put it on this list because of its sheer hilarity.

    Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora blasts his team after a five-turnover game, which he dubs as a "disgraceful performance."

    And some reporter decides to ask Mora about the team's playoff chances.

    As you can see, Mora doesn't like the question too much:

    "Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game."

5. Knute Rockne

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    It was 1928 and legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rocke and the Fighting Irish were in the midst of one of the most disappointing seasons in school history when he delivered one of the most epic speeches in sports history.

    Eight years had passed since the tragic death of Notre Dame's George Gipp and Rockne's team was set to take on college football powerhouse Army in a game that was supposed to be a blowout.

    Rockne used the Gipper's final words in a message to the Fighting Irish, telling them to "Win one for the Gipper."

    They did.

    Notre Dame upset Army, and Rockne's speech was later immortalized in the 1940 film Knute Rockne: All American. 

4. Michael Irvin:

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    Former NFL wide receiver Michael Irvin was an incredible player during his time with the Dallas Cowboys, but his off-the-field issues often overshadowed his accomplishments on it.

    He had countless run-ins with the law that left people across the NFL and the sports landscape with a lot of questions about his character.

    Then, he answered them.

    When Irvin delivered his Hall of Fame Speech in 2007, he received rave reviews for his openness and honestly, even from players who weren't a fan of his previously.

    Irvin openly addressed his past mistakes and left fans with one important message:

    "Look up, get up, and don't ever give up. You tell everyone or anyone that has ever doubted, thought they did not measure up, or wanted to quit. You tell them to look up, get up, and don’t ever give up."

3. Lou Gehrig

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    The tragic story of Lou Gehrig will forever by remember by sports fans across the country.

    At 35 years old, Gehrig had accomplished about as much as any player in baseball history before being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that would later bear his name.

    Gehrig's talents on the baseball field were matched only by his ability to a capture the hearts of an audience.

    Gehrig, knowing that he didn't have much time left, still considered himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

    The speech lives on to this day and is the most famous scene in the 1942 film The Pride of the Yankees

2. Jack Buck

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    On Sept. 11, 2001, the United States fell victim to terrorist attacks that rocked the entire nation, leaving us all at a loss for words.

    Except for Jack Buck.

    Just six days later, one of the greatest announcers in sports history recited a captivating poem, that he himself had written, in front of a stadium packed with more than 32,000 fans.

    Though Buck was battling the debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease, he managed to deliver one of the most chilling speeches in sports history:

    "Since this nation was founded under God
    more than 200 years ago,
    we've been the bastion of Freedom,
    the light which keeps the free world aglow.

    We do not covet the possessions of others;
    we are blessed with the bounty we share.
    We have rushed to help other Nations;
    anything ... anytime ... anywhere."

1. Jim Valvano

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    Long-time North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano spoke at the first-ever ESPY awards in 1993 as the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award.

    Only one year earlier, Valvano had been diagnosed with bone cancer, and he used his acceptance speech as a platform to announce the creation of the "Jimmy V Foundation," the sole purpose of which is to find a cure for cancer.

    Though we will always remember Valvano for his famous "never give up" line at the conclusion of the speech, there are several other parts that still stick with us to this day.

    Like this: "To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."

    Valvano died just one month later, but I think it's safe to say that we will indeed have a few laughs and shed a few tears whenever we think about the greatest speech in sports history.


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