During the build-up to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, there have been some amazing stories coming from the people who witnessed that historic event in 1963. But perhaps none is more amazing that the story told by long-time basketball coach George Raveling and how he managed to get the copy of the “I Have A Dream” speech from the man himself, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Raveling tells his story in the video above that aired on CBS Sunday Morning. As someone who has known him for a long time, I can tell you that Raveling, who is Nike’s Director of International Basketball, is one of the brightest and most interesting men I’ve ever met.
And he’s definitely not a guy whose life can be defined through sports.
Coach, or Rav, or Coach Rav, as we call him, is a global citizen and hoops ambassador who maintains, despite being a few years shy of 80, an insatiable passion for books, ideas, thinking outside of the box, laughter and brilliant people.
His professional accomplishments are too numerous to mention. A trailblazing pioneer, he was the first African-American basketball coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference when he served as an assistant to Lefty Driesell at the University of Maryland, before embarking on his own 20-year head coaching career.
He coached the only team to defeat The Original Dream Team in 1992 while leading up Team USA’s Developmental Squad, which was comprised of the best college players in the country.
A few years ago, Penny Hardaway told me, “We beat them the first time and the legend is that [the Dream Team] turned on the jets and blasted us. Man, we beat them twice! We were raw! We had a crew – me, Bobby Hurley, Chris Webber, Grant Hill, Rodney Rogers, Jamal Mashburn and Allan Houston. We were a force to be reckoned with, bro.”
Coach Rav was also an assistant coach to Bobby Knight on the ’84 Olympic Team that won the Gold Medal in Los Angeles.
But if you think the best story he could possibly tell might be about Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird or LeBron James, I’m certain that his brush with history and Martin Luther King Jr. at the 1963 March on Washington makes all others pale in comparison.