Sunday Night Speech: Eric LeGrand

Most great sports speeches are never heard by the general public. They happen in locker rooms, behind closed doors, and the only way we get to judge their effectiveness is by the performance the teams give afterward. There have, however been a few notable exceptions to this rule. Jim Valvano’s ESPY speech, for example. His body was riddled with cancer, and as he accepted the Arthur Ashe Award, he inspired millions and announced the formation of the Jimmy V Foundation, which is still raising money to fund cancer research. In the years since, the ESPYs have begun to give out an award in honor of Jim Valvano. The recipient has usually exhibited astounding amounts of perseverance. Earlier this year,  a young man named Eric LeGrand, formerly a Rutgers football player, was given the Jimmy V Award and spent just a few minutes telling his story. This speech is unlike most we feature in this spot. It isn’t historically significant or even a particularly excellent display of rhetorical skill, it’s just incredible. I saw Eric the other day on a show I never watch (“Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable”), and the benefit of sharing his story with others was too obvious to pass up. His acceptance speech is embedded below. Spend five minutes getting to know a guy who has every right to be bitter and cynical, and who has refused that right with amazing positivity.

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Categories: Sunday Night Speech

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