15 Athletes Who Should Speak at Your Graduation Ceremony

These Athlete Would Make Your Graduation Ceremony Memorable

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It’s that time of year; spring is in the air, graduation ceremonies are happening every weekend, Father’s Day is right around the corner (almost forgot that, didn’t you?) and summer is upon us. About that whole graduation commencement thing: the speeches at those things are incredibly boring, so we used our imaginations and came up with a list of athletes who would definitely spice up your next Pomp and Circumstance fest. We think you’ll enjoy.

15. Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson
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15. Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson
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Some people say it’s from his incredibly strict upbringing by his dad, but for whatever reason, Brian Wilson is a very colorful individual who likes to stand out, regardless of whether it’s in a good or bad way. Standing out is a great message for new graduates and if he got the mic and a captive audience, there’s no telling what other advice Wilson might provide.

14. Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis
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14. Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis
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If there’s one thing Ray Lewis did well as a player besides tackling, it’s pump others up. Talk about a natural-born motivational speaker! The guy could bring you to tears and talk you into running through a brick wall in the same breath! If there’s anyone who could get the graduates ready mentally to take on the world, it’s Ray Ray.

13. Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter
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13. Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter
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A man as respected and classy as Derek Jeter (at least on the baseball diamond) could not be a better speaker for a graduation ceremony because he has the successful experience needed to motivate others and a charismatic delivery that won’t put everyone in the building asleep.

12. Hope Solo

Hope Solo
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12. Hope Solo

Hope Solo
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A good commencement speaker (if there is such a thing) tells is like it is; he or she doesn’t sugarcoat things. Hope Solo is very blunt and new graduates need to know they are in the real world now where things aren’t fair and aren’t always peachy. Plus, everyone could just look at her while she’s talking, which is enough for us.

11. Metta World Peace

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11. Metta World Peace

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Where do we begin with the incredible quotes by the man formerly known as Ron Artest? Metta World Peace isn’t the delusional maniac the media makes him out to be, but he enjoys making them think that’s who he really is. Thus, he can channel that insight with just enough of the crazy to make a graduation ceremony interesting, if that’s possible.

10. Drew Brees

Drew Brees
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10. Drew Brees

Drew Brees
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Similar to Ray Lewis, Drew Brees is the man to get his teammates fired up before every game. Of course, his demeanor outside of that rally huddle is a little different than Lewis’ so his speaking style would definitely be unique. Brees' is a success story carved by controversy and that experience coupled with his charismatic delivery would make him a great graduation speaker.

9. Jason Terry

Jason Terry
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9. Jason Terry

Jason Terry
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If there’s one guy in the NBA who is never at a loss for words, it’s Jason Terry. The longtime-Maverick-turned-journeyman-point-guard likes to talk trash with the best of him and put himself on a pedestal. Needless to say, his speech would definitely have a lot of pizazz, so it definitely wouldn’t be boring.

8. Bryce Harper

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8. Bryce Harper

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The guy who coined the phrase “That’s a clown question, bro” is definitely worthy of taking the mic for a few minutes in front of some kids who care nothing about what he has to say. Since he finished high school early with a GED only played junior college ball for one year, he doesn’t exactly know a lot about education, but managing his incredible fame at an early age definitely gives him some experience to pass on to new graduates.

7. Manu Ginobili

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7. Manu Ginobili

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs - Game Seven
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One of the most underrated interviewees of all time, Manu Ginobili always provides insight and says repetitive, common things in a way that makes them sound totally different, new and unique. In short, that’s the perfect skill for a commencement speaker.

6. Shaquille O’Neal

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6. Shaquille O’Neal

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The most humorous athlete of all time now has a doctorate degree, so that automatically qualifies him to speak at any commencement in the world, right? C’mon, everyone knows they would love to have Shaq speak at their graduation because he would have everyone rolling with laughter the whole time while also providing some legit life coaching in the process.

5. Ronda Rousey

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5. Ronda Rousey

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As the woman who paved the way for all women mixed martial artists everywhere, Ronda Rousey has unique experience that would be beneficial to any new graduates lucky enough to hear her speak. She was the first female UFC champ and the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in Judo. Besides the fact she could provide that “you can do anything” aspect to the speech, she’s really easy on the eyes as well.

4. David Ortiz

David Ortiz
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4. David Ortiz

David Ortiz
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Although his somewhat broken English might be a distraction to some, David Ortiz would undoubtedly say something memorable at a graduation ceremony. The humorous Red Sox legend is a crowd favorite in Boston and might have to be censored if he got too excited while pumping everyone up. Yep, Big Papi would definitely be an interesting commencement speaker.

3. Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley
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3. Charles Barkley

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No one is indifferent toward Charles Barkley; you either love him or you hate him. His colorful commentary on the NBA can drive you nuts or leave you rolling on the floor with laughter. Regardless, Chuck always has something relative to say, even if he has a hard time getting it out in words that everyone could understand. Listening to him try to do that at a graduation would make the boring ceremony a lot more fun.

2. Lolo Jones

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2. Lolo Jones

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Is there an athlete out there bolder and edgier than Lolo Jones, especially a female athlete? Edgy is the word that defines memorable commencement speeches, as rare as they are, and Jones definitely wouldn’t disappoint in that aspect. Plus, her failed Olympic experiences and the fact she competed in both the Summer and Winter Games give her that experience necessary to be a great speaker.

1. Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman
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1. Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman
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Although many are too close-minded to understand it after his tirade following the NFC title game, Richard Sherman is an incredibly intelligent individual. The Stanford graduate, overlooked draft pick, Super Bowl champion and Madden cover boy has garnered enough life experience over the past six months to fill a normal person’s entire life. That in itself is enough to make him the best commencement speaker out there among sports stars.


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