Each year our favorite sports icons give tons of press conferences and interviews.
Some speeches we forget about minutes after they happen, while others will live on forever.
Here are some of my favorites. Some of them are funny, some are sad, some inspirational, and some touching. However, one thing they all have in common is that they are memorable.
7. Howard Cosell Announces Lennon’s Death:
I know this isn’t technically a speech. It was meant as an announcement, but it’s so memorable that has been talked about for over two decades.
On December 8, 1980 during the Monday Night Football game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots, Howard Cosell had the horrible task of announcing that John Lennon was killed.
The most memorable part about what he said was, “This, we have to say it, remember this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses”. Then he informs us of the “unspeakable tragedy”.
It wasn’t a planned speech, but a speech none the less.
6. Babe Ruth’s Farewell Speech:
On April 27, 1947, Babe Ruth made his memorable farewell speech.
This was the end of an era and a legend. The first thing that’s noticeable when Babe Ruth speaks is how horrible and hoarse his voice sounds. It may even be part of what makes the speech so memorable.
The one of the first things that he says is, “You know how bad my voice sounds. Well, it feels just as bad.” At the end of his speech he thanks his fans by saying, “There’s been so many lovely things said about me, and I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to thank everybody. Thank you.”
5. Jerome Bettis Superbowl Speech:
After the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL on February 5, 2006, Jerome Bettis took the microphone to speak. This was the day that he announced that he was done playing football. It was really no surprise and most of us saw it coming. However what he said makes it a memorable occasion.
Of course, most of us know that Bettis is originally from Detroit and the Super Bowl that year was in Detroit. It was ironic and profound at the same time that he had the opportunity to end his football saga where it all began.
“It’s been an incredible ride. I played this game to win a championship. I’m a champion [today], and I think the Bus’ last stop is here in Detroit,” he said to his fans and to all watching.
I only wish more of the great athletes could retire a winner as Bettis did hat day.
4. Mohammed Ali “I Am the Greatest” Speech:
In 1964 after he defeated twenty-two year old Sonny Liston, Caccius Clay (Mohammed Ali) made his very famous “I Am the Greatest Speech”.
He says, “I knew I had him in the first round. Almighty God was with me. I want everyone to bear witness, I am the greatest… I shook up the world, I’m the king of the world. You must listen to me. I am the greatest! I can’t be beat!”
He was undoubtedly the greatest of his time. We all know that. However, can you be so audacious as to come out and say it like that as if you have no flaws and are superior?
Apparently you can.
Anyone that heard him speak that day and even those that weren’t even alive yet know the speech and this is why it’s #4 on my list.
3. Jim Mora on “Playoffs”:
Whether you saw the original rant or whether you’ve seen the Coors Light commercial with his famous rant in it, you’ll know how ridiculous Jim Mora looked when he was talking about his New Orleans Saints.
He was so disgusted because of their poor performance that he said the game was a “disgrace”.
A reporter made the mistake of asking him what he thought their chances were of getting to the playoffs. This is where things got – interesting.
He gets the goofiest look humanly possible on his face and in a squeaky and demented voice says, “Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs. Are you kidding me? Playoffs? I’m just hoping we can win a game, another game.”
It really is one of the funniest speeches I’ve ever seen!
2. Darrell Green and His Hall of Fame Speech:
This speech hasn’t been around long enough to be known as “memorable” yet, but it is one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard.
On August 2, 2008, Darrell Green made his Hall of Fame speech. He starts out by telling everyone that Deacon Jones told him that he would cry. His response: “You bet your life I’m gonna cry.”
He talks about how the people he has to thank the most for making it as far as he did were his parents – both deceased. He says about his father, Leonard Green, Sr. encouraged him when everyone else said he was too small. “They said ‘no’, but he said ‘go’”.
Darrell Green didn’t lie. He definitely shed some tear that day as did a lot of people that heard the speech.
1. Lou Gehrig – “Luckiest Man” Speech:
We all know the terrible fate of Lou Gehrig and the awful disease that was named after him.
On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig gave his farewell speech that touches America. I personally think that the speech was very profound and I think Gehrig deserves all the respect in the world.
“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for 17 years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?”