If IMG Academy could count the famous and influential people that have graced this campus, the tally would too numerous to count. However if IMG Academy where to count the number of Hall of Famers, philanthropists, radio and television personalities, and originators of their own language, the count would come to oneâ Dick Vitale.
The very thing that got Dick Vitale his first media gig as he tells in his story was what he delivered to a group of basketball campers at IMG Academy basketball program. It was a stirring, emotional and heart felt speech intertwined with encouraging stories about his encounters with what seemed like the 'Who's who of basketball and media'. Dick told stories about Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, George Bodenheimer and many more all the while incorporating the theme 'A Boy, A Ball and A Dream'.
In his inspirational and captivating tone he said "People told me 'You cant coach, you cant lead.' They laughed at me when I shared my aspirations with them. I became the coach so who's laughing now, but I got fired. I got fired from the only job I was put on the earth to do, I once thought. Did that stop me? You know what made "Magic" magic (Earvin 'Magic' Johnson). He played the game with game with his mind, he know that the game wasn't just played above the rim, but his will to refine and perfect his skills made him shine. I remember in prep school Earvin was in the shadow of fellas like Albert King and Gene Banks. At the beginning of the 1977 McDonald's High School Basketball All- American game these guys where doing 'windmill dunks', dunking the ball while smacking the backboard and two handed dunks. Magic was so nervous he just did a simple layout and sat back down. He told me that when he sat down he told himself 'I'm going to show them why I am the best'. And the rest is history, Baby."
"Whatever it is that you do, because truthfully you all will not go pro but that doesn't mean you give up and rollover. If something new is introduced to you; do it with your all. I knew nothing about television, I still don't know anything about it but I gave it my all. Lets take Magic and Michael for example do you think people told them they couldn't and wouldn't. If you guys bring the passion, focus and attitude to succeed and drown out all the doubters like Magic, Michael and the other greats, guess who we're going to be talking about 10 years from now; you."
" When I worked for a little company named ESPN I used to know a kid named George, and he was my driver for a little while. ESPN would send him to pick up myself, Chris Berman and others, this kid was bright and sharp. One thing he would always tell me was 'Dick this is my internship, I cant get to know the business from the car, I want to be in the offices and be around the producers and not be the help. All I do is drive people around, get this and get that. I kept telling George 'You'll be fine, your a hard worker. Keep working George."
"Well George hung there and now do you what his title is President of ESPN and ABC Sports.You know how I knew he hung in there, I opened the front page of the paper and guess who I saw. I left a message on his voice mail reminding him of what that young intern used to tell me. Folks hard work, perseverance and dedication is key. When you are doing your shooting drills, dribbling drills even studying for that next exam; life involves hard work. Keep at it, kids. Remember: Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration."
"I cant emphasize enough how important it is to say Thank you. When I got inducted into the hall of fame something only about 300 people have had the privilege of experiencing so far. One thing I had to do without hesitation was to thank my parents. Thanking them for the continuous encourage, for taking care of me and for always believing in me. Saying thank you is an lost art form today among many young kids, it is one of the simplest yet most underrated phrases people just don't use any more. All of you are here by nothing short of hard work not entirely on your part but on the part of someone who cares about you so say thank you to them."
'A Boy, A Ball and A Dream'. The 'boy' is you, the 'ball' is anything you want to do or be. You want to play in NBA, be the youngest CEO, be the next President of large firm anything you want. 'A dream' is your determination to achieve your goal. Don't let anyone or anything stand in your way. Chase your dreams, Chase your dreams, Chase your dreams.
"Life is simple make good decisions and good things happen."- Dick Vitale