Emmitt Smith Hall of Fame Speech: Most Inspirational Sports Speech Ever?

Vince RiccioContributor IAugust 8, 2010

DALLAS - SEPTEMBER 15:  Former NFL player,Emmitt Smith watches a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium on September 15, 2008 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Emmitt Smith is a credible leader on and off the field and it was showcased and evident last night where thousands of fans, hall of famers, and the world watched in wonder as 7 inductees graced the stage. 


Plain and simple, the speech was epic.


Smith talked about his time growing up in Pensacola, Florida and the heroes that provided him with the strength to allow him to blossom into the player he became.  His tone was inspirational with a hint of confidence, mixed with gratitude.


“Whatever achievements I have earned over the course of my life, clearly have not been due to my abilities alone, but were also due to the belief of so many” Smith stated.


There were two things that were most striking about the newly minted hall of famer’s speech in Canton, Ohio.  First, Emmitt not only carried the legacy of his own illustrious career, but also carried the name of his grand father, father, and son which he now sees as all four of them sharing and encompassing such a great honour through their shared name.


Second, and most important, his message about the difference between dreams and goals was directed to players, fans, and society in general to help express his recipe for success.


And he couldn’t have been truer in his assessment and statements.


He went on to explain that in order to transfer dreams and translate them into goals, you must actively write them down on a piece of paper.  Once you do that, it’s written, stated, and a bona fide goal for you to achieve.  You have set a path to reach greatness.


That type of inspirational reasoning is one which should resonate with all who watched and serve as a reminder to all who require motivation in achieving greatness.  It’s true; you cannot achieve your most desired goals if you only dream them.  The act of writing it down is the simple, yet effective difference, between those who succeed and those who fail. 


Smith had a lifelong childhood dream of playing as a running back in the National Football League playing for the Dallas Cowboys and did everything he could to reach that goal.


“When I was six years old, I was watching the Dallas Cowboys on television with my father and some of our relatives. I clearly remember turning to my father and saying, 'One day I'm going to play professional football and I'm going to play for the Dallas Cowboys.'

My father turned to me and said, 'sure, that would be a good goal for you to have, son."


Smith delivered, what I believe to be, a speech that places among one of the best speeches in sports history.  Just like his belief in turning dreams into goals, his speech was clearly articulated with a purpose in mind.


Emmitt Smith was a running back for the Dallas Cowboys who was drafted in the first round, 17th overall in the 1990 Draft.  He is a multi-record holder, but best known for his 3 Super Bowl victories and current long standing NFL record in career rushing yards with 18,355 yds.  He culminated his career with the Arizona Cardinals and retired in the 2004 season.