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A Conversation with The President

Obama on education and sports

He’s talked a lot about achievement and sports and the intersection of the two

On Oct. 11, The Undefeated will present A Conversation with The President: Sports, Race and Achievement at North Carolina A&T State University. In a discussion moderated by SportsCenter anchor Stan Verrett, President Barack Obama will discuss lessons in leadership, the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, the role and legacy of historically black colleges and universities and athletes and social activism. It will be broadcast at 10 p.m. EST. Here are some of the things Obama has said both before and during his presidency about education and sports as a vehicle for success.

1. “Sports are a fundamental part of American culture. They foster our country’s competitive drive, help us stay healthy, and teach us what it takes to succeed — not only on the softball diamond or the basketball court, but also in life.” — Presidential Proclamation: National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, April 30, 2015


2. “The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” — Congressional Black Caucus dinner, Sept. 24, 2011


3. “Everybody knows politics is a contact sport.”— Chicago Daily Herald, May 21, 2004


4. “When you think about some of our greatest sports heroes — Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Arthur Ashe — they spoke out on issues that mattered at pretty critical times. There are times where there are important issues out there, and for athletes to recognize that they’re citizens as well as entertainers and they’ve got a voice that’s legitimate, I think is important. I think it’s useful.” — The Herd, Dec. 12, 2014


5. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — Feb. 5, 2008


6. “We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.” — Oct. 7, 2004


7. “We must carry forward the work of the women who came before us and ensure our daughters have no limits on their dreams, no obstacles to their achievements, and no remaining ceilings to shatter.” — Presidential Proclamation: Women’s History Month, Feb. 28, 2011


8. “It is that fundamental belief … I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper — that makes this country work.” — Democratic National Convention, July 27, 2004


9. “That recognition, that truth — that an education can fortify us to rise above any barrier, to meet any test — is reflected again and again throughout our history.” — Commencement address at Hampton University, May 9, 2010


10. “Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted, for those that prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.” — Inaugural address, Jan. 20, 2009


11. “Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character.” — Inaugural address, Jan. 21, 2013


12. “The true test of the American ideal is whether we’re able to recognize our failings and then rise together to meet the challenges of our time.” — Commencement address at Knox College, June 4, 2005


13. “In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity, it is a prerequisite.” — Address to joint session of Congress, Feb. 24, 2009


14. “The best judge of whether or not a country is going to develop is how it treats its women. If it’s educating girls, if women have equal rights, that country is going to move forward. But if women are oppressed and abused and illiterate, then they’re going to fall behind.” — Ladies’ Home Journal, September 2008


15. “Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.” — Sept. 8, 2009


16. “If you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, or who you love.” — State of the Union address, Feb. 12, 2013

Martenzie Johnson is a senior writer for Andscape. His favorite cinematic moment is when Django said, "Y'all want to see somethin?"

Tierra R. Wilkins is an associate editor for The Undefeated. She likes to eat fries with her ketchup.