Cuban, Stephen A. & Ludacris Commencement Speeches to Class of 2020


DALLAS- The Class of 2020 has a unique claim as the only graduates who collectively finished their senior year via online classes and collectively missed out on commencement. Amid a COVID-19 induced lockdown, a dynamic cast of speakers (including Mark Cuban) from the sports, business and entertainment industries spoke at Natty Light’s 2020 Commencement Celebration - in virtual form.

The vast variety of approaches and advice between speakers is notable. The words of inspiration stretch farther than just to Class of 2020. It’s almost a chose-your-own-advice adventure for all who seek it.

ESPN sports personality Stephen A. Smith preached how sacrifices and competition shape a career.

“Look at the people next to you…They’re your friends? No they ain’t. Get over it. They’re your competition. The person sitting next to you, right on your right-hand side and your left-hand side. Right in front of you or behind you. They are competing with you. It doesn’t mean you hate on them. It doesn’t mean you try to backstab them. It doesn’t mean that you operate in a corrupt fashion looking to cut corners at every turn just to get ahead. What it means is that I’m asking you to pay attention to the fact that competition exists for you everywhere. Are you willing to accept it and embrace it?”

Actor/Comedian Adam Divine reached into his own experiences to take the pressure off.

“It’s important to not taking everything in life so seriously. Sure, there are plenty of things in my life that I should have taken seriously. Like I was hit by a cement truck when I was a kid. Couldn’t walk for two years. That’s pretty serious. When I moved to California, I only had $800. I was 18 years old. I slept on couches. In hallways. On a rooftop for a summer. When I finally made enough money, I bought myself a pretty serious blow-up mattress. That’s pretty serious now isn’t it? When I moved out here, I just wanted to be an actor and a comedian so bad, but I didn’t know a soul in Hollywood. I could have given up I could have moved home, but I believed in myself and my abilities and I just sort of doubled down on being who I am which is a fun loving silly, silly goose of a boy. And it’s worked out.”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s speech offered optimism during a rough time in history.

“It seems awful right now, I’m sure, but you know what? Where there is change there is opportunity. Everything is upside down; this is a reset! You get to invent America 2.0, Class of 2020. Those ideas you have inside of you – there will never be a better time to chase them. So while you are sitting there talking about what you are going to do, while you are sitting there dreaming about how you can change things, while you sit there and talk to your friends about your vision for America 2.0 I don’t want you to hesitate, I want you to go out there and do it. I want you to say to yourself, ‘why not me?’”

Once again, Cuban is leading amid crisis with his vision of ‘America 2.0’. ... and all of these public figures are obviously invested in helping graduates do the same. Oh ... Including Ludacris!

Said Ludacris in part: “I want you to look at this as a blessing. I want you to look at this as a blessing in disguise to be exact. Because with great hardship comes great character.”