LaDainian Tomlinson earned multiple standing ovations during his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement Saturday with a speech that inspired and challenged everyone watching.
The former TCU and NFL running back spent much of his speech thanking family, friends, coaches and teammates. But his final remarks garnered the most attention.
Tomlinson told the story of his ancestor, George Tomlinson, a slave who was given that last name by his owner. But now the name has new meaning.
“My name began with the man who owned my great, great, great grandfather,” Tomlinson said. “Now, it’s proudly carried by me, my children, my extended family. … The family legacy that began in such a cruel way has given birth to generations of successful, caring Tomlinsons.”
Ladies and Gentlemen… @LT_21.
— NFL (@NFL) August 6, 2017
Tomlinson went on to say that his story is “America’s story.” He said America is a place of opportunity for everyone, regardless of their background, and football is a representation of that. He encouraged all Americans to be united and uphold those ideals.
The former Horned Frog’s speech drew praise from fans and media across the country. Some even said he should make a run at the presidency.
Here are just a few of the glowing reviews for Tomlinson’s speech.
What a great message for this country, at this time. I salute you you. Just awesome.
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) August 6, 2017
Jesus. LaDanian Tomlinson's great-great-great-great grandfather was a slave who tilled the land he grew up on–now renamed. #TomlinsonHill!
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 6, 2017
— Victor Hernandez 🚀 (@ToTheVictor) August 6, 2017
— Deion Sanders (@DeionSanders) August 6, 2017
LT's story about his great-great-great-grandfather rebuilding his life after slavery and growing up on the very land he tilled is incredible
— Frogs O' War (@FrogsOWar) August 6, 2017
LaDanian Tomlinson with a powerful speech not just to the sports world but all of America. #HOF2017
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) August 6, 2017
Sports is a platform. That's how you use it for good. Great job, LaDainian Tomlinson.
— Cedric Golden (@CedGolden) August 6, 2017
Hell yeah, LaDainian Tomlinson!! Now this is a speech. What an inspiration.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) August 6, 2017
Strong close to LT's speech. Nobody else had anything like that. 'My story is America's story.' He's right.
— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) August 6, 2017
LaDainian Tomlinson with the speech of the night. Outstanding.
Absolutely outstanding, top to bottom.
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) August 6, 2017
.@LT_21 Just scored another touchdown! Preach my brother!
— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) August 6, 2017