Why A Former College Basketball Coach Has The “I Have A Dream” Speech

Posted: January 16, 2017 in Amazing and Interesting Stories, History, Politics

George Raveling is Nike’s Global Basketball Sports Marketing Director. mlk_2415483He is a former college men’s basketball player, coach and color commentator. He played college basketball for Villanova and later became the head coach at Washington State, Iowa, and USC. You know what the most interesting fact about him is, though? He has Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. How did he come into possession of it, you ask? Well, he was there.

The words “I have a dream” had barely stopped echoing across the Washington DC Mall 50-years ago when Martin Luther King Jr. stepped away from the podium. At that point a young security volunteer standing a few feet away named George (who was chosen because of his size), got up the nerve to ask a question.

Might he have the copy of the speech King had just given and held in his hands?

Quickly handing it over, King and the young man headed in opposite directions. That young man was George Raveling, who was an assistant basketball coach at Villanova at the time and went on to become a well-known and respected college coach.

As soon as he finished, the place went wild . . . I saw he had folded it up and I said, ‘Dr. King, can I have that speech?’ ” Raveling told the Philadelphia Daily News in 2009. “He turned to hand it to me and appeared as if he was going to say something when a rabbi on the other side came up and congratulated him on what a wonderful speech it was. And that was the end of it.”

And just like that, Raveling had in his hands the notes for arguably the most famous speech of the 20th century, or ever, for that matter.

Raveling has been offered over $3 million for the speech, which he has willed to his children on the condition that they not sell it.

“The speech belongs to America, Raveling once said. “The speech belongs to black folks. It doesn’t belong to me. It would be sacrilegious of me to try to sell it or to profit from it. I would like to think that somewhere out there my mom and dad and my grandma taught me better than that. Everything in life you can’t equate in money.”

And he still has it today.



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