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Tony D'Amelio

By: Tony D'Amelio on April 11th, 2017

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Best Sports Motivational Speakers: The Key to Success by BILL WALTON

Motivation

Basketball superstar BILL WALTON is known by thousands for his achievements on the basketball court and behind the microphone. By all accounts, he’s led a charmed life. But few people know the back story of Bill’s life – his lifelong stuttering affliction and health problems that resulted in 37 surgeries including one that ended his playing career and one for catastrophic spine failure in 2008.

What’s astounding is just how positive and upbeat Bill Walton is given all he has been through. He is one of the most positive people I know – and the nicest.

When I’ve been with Bill at his speaking engagements, he didn’t leave the room until the last person waiting to shake his hand, get an autograph, or take a photo got what they so patiently waited for.

Here’s the typical feedback I receive from people who’ve engaged Bill to speak:

“Bill went out of his way to make EVERY person in the room feel like they mattered -- and he personally spent time talking to each of them. Simply unbelievable, which an email cannot describe.” 
– Irving Place Capital

So much of Bill’s success is rooted in lessons he learned from his great college basketball coach, John Wooden. I asked Bill to share three pieces of advice on the path to success. Here’s what he wrote – in his own words. Much of it has to do with confronting reality, something most of us struggle with in a world that’s changing at warp speed. His advice here is truly inspirational – and I hope you enjoy Bill’s personal anecdotes.

 


 

BILL WALTON on the Key to Success in Business and Life

1 - Get Over Your Fear

You’ll never learn what you don’t want to know. When you stand face to face with failure, loss, change and/or sadness, know that health is the foundation of everything good. With it---anything is possible; without it-- it’s nearly impossible to climb out of any morass. Health leads to happiness and confidence… When you find yourself in times of trouble—of any kind--- my personal experiences have taught me that the start of your new path forward always begins with a reset to your core values and then a formulation of a new dream/plan/goal/mission/purpose… Followed by the utilization of your proven medicine…My healing tonics are participation in sports, being with the guys on the team, and immersing myself in the wondrous, inspirational joy of music…

A few years back when my spine failed and collapsed, I found my life was no longer worth living. I longed to be dead, and be done with it all…After my previous 36 orthopedic surgeries on my feet, ankles, knees, hands, wrists and face, the last thing I wanted was more surgery. But my back was so bad--- after spending a seeming eternity on the ground-- I ultimately had no choice. I tried what I thought was everything in my attempt to get better. But being old, proud and stubborn, I was unaware of the new surgical procedures, techniques, equipment, technologies and options that are now available in today’s incredible new world.  I finally had to have pioneering spine surgery, and today it has turned out to be the best decision of my life.  I wasted so much time because of fear. I simply didn’t know. And because of the excruciating, unrelenting and debilitating pain, I was incapable of generating any plan for a better tomorrow…

BILL WALTON: Confronting Reality: You’ll Never Learn What You Don’t Want to Know 

 


NBA great BILL WALTON is one of the best sports motivational speakers in America.  Let him inspire your group.

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2 - Be Realistic

My basketball-playing career ended prematurely in the operating room. Both of my ankles have been fused, after I was unable to take another step forward forever... I was quick to accept that I would never run or play again, and I had to move on… Getting to what’s next ASAP is critical…Don’t wallow in the muck of the bleak bottom and dark past… Quickly generate new dreams, realizing that the plan forward will change constantly…And accept that risk, failure, doubt, uncertainty and hesitation are all part of the grand game of life…Embrace change and a fresh start as a fantastic chance and spectacular opportunity for a whole new life…

In the many times that I’ve been forced to start completely over from nothing, I’ve learned to implement some of Coach Wooden’s most valuable tools to overcome adversity and defeat, as I’ve started back up on yet another long hard climb: Motivation…Balance…

Quickness…Creative Imagination…Empathy…

Confidence…Persistence…

Perseverance…Discipline…

All words that are easy to memorize--- but essential skills, values and attributes that are extremely difficult to put into practice when you find yourself totally up against the wall of reality...  

John Wooden Leadership Maxims: BILL WALTON - Pyramid of Success 

 

 

 SUPPLEMENTAL READING:  OVERCOMING ADVERSITY: HOW DID NBA LEGEND BILL WALTON STOP STUTTERING AND START BROADCASTING and BILL WALTON SPEAKER PROFILE

3 - Take Action

Make the worst things that happen to you become the best things ever…You cannot finish anything that you don’t start…

Don’t wait. Get started. Go your own way. Chase your dream. The finished product is most often a result of incremental progress. Waiting for things to fall totally and completely into place is a self-defeating, excuse-laden, prophetical trap. Chase it down. Get into the game.

I am a lifelong stutterer…I could not speak at all until I was 28 years old…Athletics and academics have always been the easiest parts of my life…My most daunting challenges have been orthopedic health, speaking and communicating…These negatively affected and severely limited every aspect of me…

Athletes and entertainers are the ultimate entrepreneurs …Lying on that hospital bed so many years ago, and knowing that I would never play again, I made the fateful choice right then and there to pursue a career in ---TELEVISION…Sure, why not ???

I’m 6’11”… I had red hair…freckles… a big nose…a goofy/ nerdy looking face…I couldn’t speak… and I’m a Dead Head, now having been to more than 880 Grateful Dead concerts (and still counting) over the last 49 years…

No problem !!!

Learning how to speak is my single greatest accomplishment in life…

Nothing has changed my life more than learning how to talk…

But what I‘ve really learned over these past 64 years, is what Coach Wooden was always subtlety trying to teach us---how to learn, and how to compete…

Once you know that, there’s nothing that can keep you down…

Game on…Here we go…

This life, so full of tormented conflict, has taught me the hardest of lessons…Like that no matter how hard you try, sometimes you can’t always get what you want… But you’ll generally find, that you will get, just what you need…

Please, won’t you come with me…It’s a wonderful world…

 BILL WALTON: Improbable Transition: The Power of Persistence

 

ABOUT BILL WALTON

BILL WALTON is one of the most colorful and recognizable sports figures in the world.  He may also be the happiest.  Named one of "50 Greatest NBA Players of All-Time," the Basketball Hall of Fame member played for two NBA Championship teams - the Portland Trail Blazers and the Boston Celtics.  He also played under legendary UCLA coach John Wooden - notching two national championships with the team that added to the 88-game winning streak - still a men's college basketball record.  Bill, a lifelong Grateful Dead fan, has seen over 880 shows (and counting) and continues his career as a broadcaster for Pac12 Conference college basketball games. 

The most-injured played in NBA history, Bill is one of the best motivational speakers from sports, talking about personal achievement, leadership, team effort and his own challenges with spine health, multiple surgeries, and learning to speak. The journey from his childhood basketball court to the stage at meetings and conventions of top organizations is an unlikely journey. His inspiring message of grit and determination – overcoming speech disorder and enduring over 37 surgeries for sports-related injuries – serves as an example for everyone who dreams of accomplishing big things in their career and life.  Bill's autobiography, Back from the Dead, was a New York Times bestseller.  For more information about BILL WALTON and booking him as a speaker, contact D’Amelio Network: www.DamelioNetwork.com. 

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About Tony D'Amelio

Tony has spent his career putting talented people and audiences together, first in the music business and later representing the world's leading speakers. After concluding 27 years as Executive Vice President of the Washington Speakers Bureau, Tony launched D'Amelio Network, a boutique firm that manages the speaking activities of a select group of experts on business, management, politics and current events. Clients include: Mike Abrashoff, Geoff Colvin, Katty Kay, Polly LaBarre, Vikram Mansharamani, David Meerman Scott, Bill Taylor, Bill Walton, and Bob Woodward.

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