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Analysis Of Jim Valvano’s Arthur Ashe Award Acceptance Speech

1062 words - 5 pages

Jim Valvano was the head coach for the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In 1992, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and as a result he created the V Foundation, whose raises money for cancer research. In 1993, Valvano won the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPY’s. In his acceptance speech, Valvano effectively incorporates the three appeals of speech writing, but uses a strong ethos appeal to capture the audience. Through such a strong ethos appeal, Valvano makes himself worthy for the award he is receiving, which is the goal for any acceptance speech. Valvano’s speech is also effective because he uses four of the six parts of a ...view middle of the document...

Here, Valvano makes a connection to the audience by making himself one of them. Throughout the speech, he never talks at the audience, but with them, as if he is having a conversation with them. By putting his family in the audience, he makes himself a family man and part of the audience, which adds to his ethos appeal.
The next part is narration, where the speaker gives the audience facts about the topic. Valvano does this by telling a story of his first speech in the locker room. The Arthur Ashe Award is given to people in the sports field who stand up against adversity. So this story was appropriate for the context because it gives another reason why Valvano deserved to win the award. It adds another aspect to Valvano, since it makes him more than just another cancer victim. Valvano talks of another great coach, Vince Lombardi, who was an inspiration for him. The story is funny, which also adds to the conversational tone of the speech. In his quest to be like Lombardi, Valvano describes how he got nervous and made a mistake in his first speech to his players: “I go to knock the doors open just like Lombardi… They don’t open. I almost broke my arm… Finally I said, ‘Gentlemen, all eyes on me… we’ll be successful this year if you can focus on three things… Your family, your religion, and the Green Bay Packers.’” This story is effective because it was funny and it made Valvano more credible by showing that he could make mistakes.
The final part where he uses ethos is in his proof. In the proof, the speaker tells the audience what they must do. In persuasive speeches, this is the part where the speaker lays out his points in attempt to convince the audience. Valvano’s speech is similar here because in this part he asks the audience to donate to his foundation. Usually, in the proof part of the speech, the speaker relies more on logos (the facts of the speaker’s topic), but in this speech, Valvano relies on ethos. It is...

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