Sports Speakers With Lessons On Leadership & Teamwork
When it comes to stories that bring to life the themes of refusing to quit, working together, leadership, and expecting the unexpected, speakers from the world of sports always deliver. Sports keynote speakers are able to use lessons from their lives and experiences to both entertain and inspire audiences around the world.
Here are several speakers with backgrounds playing for, coaching, commenting on, and managing major sports franchises:
- Katie Ledecky, Olympic Champion Swimmer; 10x Olympic Medalist, 15x World Champion, 14x World Record Breaker
- John Riggins, NFL Hall Of Fame Inductee & Super Bowl MVP
- Greg Gadson, Highly-Decorated Army Colonel & New York Giants Honorary Captain
- Jon Dorenbos, Magician and Former NFL Player
- Vinny Papale, Legendary NFL Player and Inspiration for the Movie Invincible
- Howie Long, Hall Of Fame NFL Lineman & TV Personality
- Tom Flick, Former NFL Quarterback & Authority on Leadership, Leading Change and Accelerating Performance
- Jimmy Johnson, Legendary NFL Coach & Analyst at FOX Sports
- Magic Johnson, Legendary NBA Player
- Jim Craig, Goaltender for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
- Jim Abbott, Professional Baseball Player and Inspirational Hero
- Dusty Baker, 1st & Only Three-Time Major League Baseball Manager of the Year in Major League History
- Mike Greenberg, Co-Host Of “Get Up” & Former Host Of “Mike and Mike”
- Tim Howard, US Men’s National Soccer Team Goalkeeper
- David Feherty, CBS Sports Golf Commentator & New York Times Best-Selling Author
- Laila Ali, Boxing Champion, Elite Athlete, Fitness & Nutrition Expert, TV Host, & Beauty & Lifestyle Brand CEO
- Susan O’Malley, First Female President Of A Professional Sports Franchise & Former President Of The Washington Capitals & The Washington Wizards
- Dawn Hudson, Former Chief Marketing Officer Of The NFL & Former President and CEO Of Pepsi Cola North America
- Molly Fletcher, Pioneering Female Sports Agent & CEO
Read more about each of these terrific sports keynote speakers below and click through to view each of their individual speaker profile pages for more information about their speaking topics and watch their speaker videos to see them in action.
Olympic Champion Swimmer; 10x Olympic Medalist, 15x World Champion, 14x World Record Breaker
Ledecky’s Olympic legend began at the 2012 London Olympic Games, where she was the youngest U.S. Olympian at just 15-years-old. Now, she's a 10-time Olympic medalist and 15-time World Championship medalist — the most of any female swimmer. As personable and relatable as she is laser-focused on achieving her goals, she shares her perspective on developing a winner’s mentality, goal setting, swimming past adversity, and the importance of discipline, practice, and support in reaching peak performance. Drawing from her inspiring personal journey to the winner’s podium, she shares her elite-level strategies for visualizing and achieving success at the highest levels in any field. | Learn more about Katie here.
NFL Hall Of Fame Inductee & Super Bowl MVP
John Riggins spent five years with the Jets and became the first back in franchise history to rush for more than 1000 yards in a single season. In 1972, he was voted the Jets’ Most Valuable Player. Later that year, he joined the Washington Redskins where he remained until retiring in 1985. In 1983, Riggins helped lead the Redskins to their first Super Bowl victory while being named the game’s MVP. John Riggins was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992. He offers several speeches touching on important themes like teamwork and the importance of doing your job to contribute to a cause greater than yourself, giving yourself the permission to fail, being courageous, and seizing the moment. | Learn more about John here.
Highly-Decorated Army Colonel & New York Giants Honorary Captain
Colonel Greg Gadson served our nation in the United States Army for more than 26 years. Col. Gadson’s service culminated as the Garrison Commander of Fort Belvoir, where he oversaw the daily operations of the post, a strategic sustaining base where more than 50,000 military personnel and employees provide logistical, intelligence, medical, and administrative support, and command and control for a mix of more than 140 commands and agencies for the Department of Defense (DoD). Gadson was eager to show what wounded soldiers can do, in and outside of Hollywood. He motivates injured soldiers by playing one in the film, Battleship, which includes actors Rihanna and Liam Neesom. A decorated and disabled Army Commander and the New York Giants honorary captain, Gadson was sought out to play Battleship’s Mick Canales, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who grapples with aliens and struggles to overcome the loss of his legs in war. “We’re not just surviving horrific injuries, we can actually have an expected quality of life that’s unprecedented,” Gadson says. | Learn more about Colonel Greg Gadson here.
Magician and Former NFL Player
Jon Dorenbos played 14 seasons in the NFL, notably making the Pro Bowl twice as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2016, Jon competed on America’s Got Talent where he showcased his skills as a sleight-of-hand magician, making it to the finals and placing third overall in the competition amongst tens of thousands of competitors. He then put his talent on display as a guest on Ellen, who quickly became one of his biggest fans and advocates. Jon has appeared on Ellen’s show in various capacities as well as on The Today Show. He just retired from the NFL after having successful open-heart surgery to repair a defective aortic valve. Known for his great sense of humor and positive outlook on life, Jon is a successful motivational speaker who uses his skills as a magician and his incredible life story to inspire. He is currently writing a book for Simon & Schuster titled Life Is Magic that will go on sale in late 2018. | Learn more about Jon Dorenbos here.
Legendary NFL Player and Inspiration for the Movie Invincible
Vinny Papale is a former professional American football player and the inspiration for the movie Invincible after becoming the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL. A cancer survivor, he motivates audiences with his astounding tale of resilience and perseverance. | Learn more about Vinny Papale here.
Hall Of Fame NFL Lineman & TV Personality
Howie Long, former Hall of Fame Defensive End for the Los Angeles Raiders, is currently best known for his position of in-studio analyst for the Emmy Award-winning FOX NFL Sunday team. Howie Long was twice chosen Defensive Lineman of the Year, and was elected to the Pro Bowl eight times, tying the Raiders' all-time record. A multi-talented performer, Howie Long launched his successful television and film career after playing 13 years in the NFL for the Los Angeles Raiders. He shares lessons on leadership and teamwork, drawn from his experience leading teams on and off the field. | Learn more about Howie Long here.
Former NFL Quarterback & Authority on Leadership, Leading Change, & Accelerating Performance
He is the founder of Tom Flick Communications and a former NFL quarterback who once played backup to NFL great Dan Fouts in San Diego. Tom Flick addresses more than 100,000 men and women each year and has garnered a reputation around the world as an authority on leadership, helping organizations develop leaders, lead change effectively and increase teamwork, communication, and performance skills. Flick’s passion for raising more effective leaders is achieved by his unique gift to connect with the listener's heart as well as their head. Understanding that people, not programs, help organizations change and grow, he draws on his leadership experience as a former NFL quarterback for seven seasons and his extensive work in corporate America, to provide actionable solutions that allow people to become peak performers both personally and professionally. | Learn more about Tom Flick here.
Legendary NFL Coach & Analyst at FOX Sports
Jimmy Johnson is a proven leader and motivator, exemplified by his experiences as the architect of the Dallas Cowboys' consecutive victories in Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII, former Miami Dolphins coach, and current member of FOX's NFL Sunday team. After retiring as the head coach of the two-time defending Super Bowl Champion Cowboys in February of 1993, Johnson joined FOX Sports in April of 1994 to serve as an analyst on the fledgling pre-game show. He remained with the show for its first two seasons. Immediately, FOX NFL Sunday established itself as the overwhelming fan favorite, a position it has enjoyed each year since, winning 16 Emmy Awards in eight years, including four for best studio show. Learn more about Jimmy Johnson here.
Legendary NBA Player
Having left the basketball court for the boardroom, Earvin “Magic” Johnson has successfully parlayed his skills and tenacity from the court into the business world as Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE). With his continued love of basketball, Johnson is utilizing those same skills and bringing his winning spirit in his recent role as the President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson inspires audiences with his incredible success in basketball and business. | Learn more about Magic Johnson here.
Goaltender for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
Jim Craig is best remembered for his outstanding goal tending in the 1980 winter Olympics, also known as the “Miracle on Ice,” which was named the top sports moment of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated. Jim has been called the backbone of a team that accomplished one of the most extraordinary and memorable sports victories of all time. He went on to play professionally and transitioned to tremendous success in the business world which he still enjoys today. For more than30 years, Jim has inspired, instructed, and provided strategic and winning direction for employees and associates from more than 500 organizations, including Bank of America, Dell, Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, Kellogg's, Microsoft, Ocean Spray, Walt Disney, Welch’s, and other companies that hold some of the world’s most recognized and respected brands. Jim is also the co-author of the highly acclaimed business book, Gold Medal Strategies: Business Lessons from America's Miracle Team (2010, John Wiley & Sons). Now, he helps motivate audiences to their own gold-medal moments. | Learn more about Jim Craig here.
Professional Baseball Player and Inspirational Hero
The Major League Baseball pitcher who was born with only one hand, Jim Abbott shares with audiences the keys to adapting, persevering and removing obstacles to success. Those who have hired Jim Abbott to speak will tell you what a truly motivational keynote speaker he is. His style of speaking is humble and humorous. He shows your audience, employees or members of your association how to overcome obstacles and difficulty. He is a living example that disability does not define you, but rather your ability. Motivational speakers can lift and inspire your team. Those who are a living example of overcoming adversity, like Jim Abbott, are the best at bringing the message into the hearts of the listener. His messages use many sports anecdotes, but is 100% appreciated and loved by even those who are not sports fans. | Learn more about Jim Abbott here.
The Only Three-Time Major League Baseball Manager of the Year in Major League History
Johnnie B. “Dusty” Baker Jr. is an American former Major League Baseball manager and retired all-star Major League baseball player. He had a 19-year career as a hard-hitting outfielder, primarily with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. He helped the Dodgers to pennants in 1977 and 1978 and to the World Series championship in 1981. Dusty Baker’s record-setting career as a Major League Baseball manager is legendary—Dusty was the first National League manager to earn "Manager of the Year" honors three times. The Legendary Baseball Player and Manager now shares his love and skill with the sport for all. Dusty is an accomplished and versatile inspirational keynote speaker who now shares his love and skill with the sport for all. He easily connects with his audience by sharing candid stories of his life experiences. Dusty's gift for relating his fascinating life experiences—both on and off the field—have been enjoyed by audiences all over the country. | Learn more about Dusty Baker here.
Co-Host Of “Get Up” & Former Host Of “Mike and Mike”
Mike Greenberg is co-host of ESPN’s Get Up, and the former host of ESPN’s SportsCenter and ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike, which premiered in 1998 as Mike & Mike in the Morning and was carried by more than 310 affiliates nationwide. Mike jokes that he can talk about "literally anything you want" when it comes to sports, but is known for his hilarious banter and commentary on various sports leagues and the lessons that can be drawn from their successes and failures. Mike also makes a fantastic emcee and dinner speaker. | Learn more about Mike here.
US Men’s National Soccer Team Goalkeeper
Tim Howard is the record-setting, superstar goalie for the United States men’s national team. With 16 saves against Belgium, it was the best showing by a keeper since 1966 when the league started keeping records. Named “Man of the Match,” he is one of only four goalkeepers to score a goal in a Premier League match. Howard has a powerful voice and matchless personality, motivating audiences with his achievements and personal stories of determination and goal-setting on and off the field. Howard inspires audiences with fascinating and funny stories of the highs and lows of his career. | Learn more about Tim here.
CBS Sports Golf Commentator & New York Times Best-Selling Author
In 1997, David retired from professional golf when offered a position as a golf commentator for CBS Sports. “I always enjoyed talking more than playing, and now CBS is paying me for what I like to do most.” Thanks to his sharp wit and colorful personality, David has become golf’s favorite announcer. David’s success extends beyond broadcasting. He’s authored six books, several making the New York Times Best Sellers List. Each is “chocked full with belly-busting humor”, including his latest The Power of Positive Idiocy. His popular monthly column on the back page of GOLF Magazine should be “read twice to exact every available laugh”. | Learn more about David Feherty here.
World-Class Boxing Champion, Elite Athlete, Author, & CEO
Laila Ali is a world-class athlete, fitness and nutrition expert, TV host, cooking enthusiast, founder and CEO of the Laila Ali Lifestyle Brand, advocate for women and children, wife, and mother of two. The daughter of late beloved global icon and humanitarian, Muhammad Ali, she is a four-time undefeated boxing world champion. She shares incredible stories and lessons about being a champion in all that you do, unlocking your competitive edge and using it as an advantage, finding strength and personal power, and tapping into inspiration during challenging times and against all odds. She is a past President of the Women's Sports Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes equality for women in the world of professional sports and pushes programs that encourage young women to be confident, healthy and strong through sports. | Learn more about Laila here.
Former President Of The Washington Capitals & The Washington Wizards
As the first female president of a professional sports franchise, Susan O’Malley is a pioneer in two fields: sports and business. She knows what it takes to be a leader in a tough business environment and how to create an organization from the ground up. During her presentations, Susan O’Malley speaks about leadership and thriving in a male-dominated field, calling on anecdotes and lessons learned from her life of unprecedented success. In engaging and upbeat presentations, she outlines seven seminal ‘rules’ for leadership and life and shares insider stories about entertainment, hockey, and basketball. | Learn more about Susan here.
Former Chief Marketing Officer Of The NFL
Dawn Hudson assumed her role at the NFL during a climate of controversy and change. Charged with steering the massive brand back on track, Hudson worked to bring more humanity, laughter, and a younger focus to the League through industry-leading advertising efforts (including her many well-received Super Bowl campaigns), an overhaul of events programs to generate fan engagement, and partnering with institutions to develop brand encounters for fans—like the “NFL Experience” operating out of Times Square in New York City. In speeches, Hudson shares lessons about reinvention, growth, smart business strategy, and pushing further, using stories from her time working for one of the world's best-known and most-loved brands. | Learn more about Dawn here.
Pioneering Female Sports Agent & CEO
She has been called the "female Jerry Maguire" by CNN, Molly Fletcher recruited and represented hundreds of sport’s biggest names, including Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, PGA TOUR golfer Matt Kuchar, broadcaster Erin Andrews, and basketball championship coaches Tom Izzo and Doc Rivers. Formerly, as president of client representation for sports and entertainment agency CSE, Molly spent two decades as one of the world’s only female sports agents. Molly Fletcher is a trailblazer in every sense of the word—a rare talent of business wisdom, relationship brilliance, and unwavering optimism. As a CEO, she shares her unconventional and unique techniques that made her one of the first female sports agents in the high stakes, big ego world of professional sports, and now a successful entrepreneur. She talks about how to unleash potential by using transformational change for good, and shares lessons on achieving peak performance, offers tactical advice for setting goals and chasing them, and uses stories to bring lessons on living fearlessly to life. | Learn more about Molly here.
Ready to Book a Speaker From the World of Sports?
After learning about these top sports speakers, are you ready to book the best sports motivational speaker for your event? These speakers about sports teach valuable lessons on motivating your workforce, inspiring employees, and achieving your goals.
Professional athlete speakers understand the pressures put on many by organizations and the pressures to perform well. They can easily translate these experiences into digestible bits for your audience.
The sport keynote speakers mentioned above are just a few of the best sports motivational speakers on the circuit. If you are looking for a speaker not mentioned above, reach out to us and we can help!
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