Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Billy Ray Bates PBA Hall of Fame Speech

Full text of PBA Hall of Fame speech by Billy Ray Bates:

"When I first learned I was going to be inducted into the PBA (Hall of Fame), it felt good...until I realized I would have to give a speech.

You know I like talking but being in front of 20,000 people without a basketball in my hands is harder than stopping me from scoring 46 points in a game back when I was playing here in 1983.

But even harder was leaving the PBA and the Philippines because of what the PBA and the Filipino people have meant to me.

I want to first thank the PBA because my time in the league changed my life. It gave me a second chance to live my dream of playing before thousands of fans who loved basketball like me. It also gave me an opportunity to play at the same level as I did in the NBA and show people why they call me the Black Superman.

This honor means so much to me because my time in the PBA was the biggest accomplishment I had in my life. Here I posted some of my greatest stats - 73 points in one game - 29 rebounds in a single game - and 11 assists in one night - at a time in my life when some people thought I could not play at that level anymore.

I take this award as a symbol of the love the Filipino fans have for me. My career would not be what it was without your cheers and well wishes and welcoming attitude toward me. You accepted me for who I was and showed me love. There is no award big enough to represent my gratitude for my fans. I love you.

Although this award honors my past achievements, I see this honor as the start of new opportunities to reconnect with the Philippines. I have always loved this country and believed in its potential to use basketball as a way to bring families together and create a stronger connection among its citizens. It has also reached beyond its borders to build ties with athletes from foreign countries to share in its love of our sport.

That love of our sport in the Philippines had led to new opportunities for me. It has sparked my interest in returning to the PBA. Let me state this clearly - I want to be the next new coach in the PBA. I have also had the chance to talk with members of the business community, including Grosby, the company that produced my red and white sneakers. The reason why I want to come back is because I want to give back to the Philippines and inspire the people of this country the way they inspired me.

Finally, I have to thank one more person - God. It is through Him I found the inspiration to pursue my dream, learned how hope and faith can lead to change and a positive life. I have made some wrong choices but learned how to make the right choices through Him. I thank Him continuously for helping me make one of my best choices - coming to the PBA and the Philippines.

Thank you."

*Note: Coach Ronnie Magsanoc felt bad because he missed seeing Billy Ray Bates read his speech on-air during the PBA on AKTV halftime show last Sunday. Coach Ronnie and new PBA Hall of Famer Alvin Patrimonio are proud Crispa die-hards (which means kalaban ko sila because Toyota die-hard ako along with Olsen Racela and Dondon Hontiveros). Well Coach Ronnie, that's why I posted the full speech here. Hope you enjoyed reading it.

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