Ray Lewis’ Inspirational Speech

Ray Lewis is heralded as a leader by sports fans from around the globe.

Professionally, he is known for being a two-time Super Bowl champion and for being selected to the Pro Bowl an impressive 13 times. He is also one of a select few football players to spend the duration of his career with a single team— the Baltimore Ravens.

But a lot of what makes Lewis so impressive has to do with his life away from the gridiron. Hailing from Bartow, Florida, a small city of 15,000 people, Lewis grew up without having a relationship with his biological father and a stepfather who was extremely abusive, which he says motivated him to train and become strong in an effort to protect his mother. These hardships fueled his desire to achieve greatness and become a Hall of Fame linebacker.

Today, Ray Lewis is retired, having stepped away from professional football after his 2012 season. He continues to give back by speaking publicly and using his platform to provide inspiration to others.

In today’s post, we’ll be covering some of the most influential Ray Lewis motivational speeches, as well as sharing a few of our favorite quotes.

1. Retirement Speech – 2013

There are very few retirement speeches that are as profound as the Ray Lewis retirement speech. Delivered at Under Armour Performance Centre in Baltimore on January 2nd, 2013, it was an announcement that disappointed many since Lewis had been the backbone of the Ravens’ defense for years. But it was also an announcement that made sense given the fact that Lewis had torn his biceps in late 2012— an injury he had to undergo surgery to repair.

During this particular Ray Lewis speech, he discussed the importance of leaving behind a positive legacy.

Below is an excerpt:

“Every moment I’ve ever had in this building, what this organization has done for me, what this city has done for me, what my fans have done for me, what the mutual respect from different players has done for me around this league, I can never take any of that back. That’s the ultimate when you leave this game, you leave it with one heck of a legacy. Hopefully, I’ve done a heck of a job doing it but it’s time for me to go and create a different legacy.”

The entire retirement speech can be viewed on YouTube here.

2. Hall of Fame Speech – 2018

In true leadership form, the athlete used his Hall of Fame induction as an opportunity to deliver yet another memorable Ray Lewis inspirational speech. With a Super Bowl MVP award under his belt, along with two NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors, Lewis was an obvious choice when it came to Hall of Fame induction. Sports fans from across the country tuned in to see him finally receive the prestigious accolade and hear what he had to say about the experience. The linebacker provided a thoughtful sermon, taking the time to touch on a range of topics he is passionate about, including domestic violence, leadership and Christianity.

Below is a quote from the Ray Lewis HOF speech:

“The lion is not the tallest animal in the jungle. The lion is not the largest animal in the jungle. The lion is not the smartest nor the most intelligent animal in the jungle. And yet, when the lion shows up, he is king. You don’t need to be intelligent. You don’t need to be smart. You don’t need to be a certain height. You don’t need to have a certain weight. You don’t need to have any kind of advantage. Yet, you can be a leader. I was not the biggest, the strongest or fastest. But my goals were clear.”

Click here to watch the entire speech.

3. Madden 13 Speech – 2013

Any video game aficionado who is also a football fan can tell you about Madden NFL. It’s one of the most popular sports video games in the world, with more than 130 million copies sold. One of the most popular aspects of the game is the voice commentary, which is provided by real-life pro footballers. In 2013 Ray Lewis was featured in the game, lending his voice to the intro. Years later, that intro is now renowned as the inspirational Ray Lewis Madden speech.


“I’m older, of course I’m older, that’s the beauty of it. 16 years plus, different level of wisdom, different level of understanding, different level of punishment. I wanna live long after my records have fallen, long after my rings have tarnished.”

Watch the entire clip here.

4. Stanford Speech – 2012

Lewis gave a fervent speech to the Stanford men’s basketball team before its game against the University of Massachusetts in the 2012 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) semifinal. The Cardinal were the established underdogs of the tournament and Lewis wanted to ignite their fire before they hit the court. Fortunately, his speech worked, because Stanford won the game and many of the players still fondly recall his address to them.

Below is a quote from the Ray Lewis Stanford speech:

“Effort is between you and you. Effort ain’t got nothing to do with nobody else. So that team that think they’re ready to see you… They think what they’ve seen on film… They ain’t saw what film shows. Because every day is a new day. Every moment is a new moment. Now you’ve got to go out and show them I’m a different creature, now, than I was five minutes ago.”

Watch the full motivational speech here.

5. 52 Cards Speech – 2019

First mentioned during a speech he gave at the end of Camp Paradise in 2016, this particular Ray Lewis speech has been re-recorded and turned into a motivational YouTube video that has amassed hundreds of thousands of views.

The speech centers around the fact that Lewis used a stack of playing cards to motivate him while working out as a young man. He would pick a card from the deck, and whatever number the card displayed, was the number of exercises he would complete.

Later in his life, 52 would become the linebacker’s jersey number— an homage to his humble beginnings.

The story is considered by many to be the most powerful Ray Lewis motivational speech of all.

Here is one of its frequently-referenced quotes:

“Last altercation we got in my stepfather hit my mama so hard in the face I caught him and I looked at him with this rage and this pain in my eyes like one day one day and I took this deck of cards, I couldn’t live in the house so I had to live in the garage, and after this last altercation we had with this guy,  I just ran to my garage and I grabbed this deck of cards and I flipped a 7 and I started doing 7 pushups. I flipped a 6 I did 6, I flipped a 9 I did nine, I flipped a 2 I did 2, I flipped a 9 again I did 9. I went through the whole deck jack, queen, king worth 10, aces 25 and jokers 50. 

Until I got sick and tired of what pain felt like in my gut. It didn’t even matter to me because I started shuffling them all up again and that’s when I started doing my sit-ups because I wanted to make sure sports wasn’t the reason why I started training. It was to make sure a man never put his hands on my momma again. 

And I told my momma no pain, no pain will ever stop me from taking care of you and my brothers and sisters.”

Watch the entire speech on YouTube here.

Are you interested in booking a Ray Lewis motivational speech for your next event? If so, contact Sports Speakers 360 today for more information!

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