The Alabama Crimson Tide, along with head coach Nick Saban, have created normality around highly valued guest speakers coming to Tuscaloosa. Each year the team will host a recognizable athlete or celebrity so that they can bestow their wisdom amongst the football program.
In 2013, Ray Lewis fresh off a Super Bowl victory spoke to the team. In 2018, the late Kobe Bryant gave a passionate speech about staying focused while having a hard work ethic. During the pandemic, the arguable goat of basketball, Michael Jordan spoke to the team over Zoom. Many other significant individuals have come through the program leaving the team knowledge for the future.
On August 6, 2022, the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps made an appearance at the annual fall practice held before the season begins. He would also add his name to the greats before him who have spoken to the team.
Appearing in the Olympics for the first time in 2000, Phelps would rake up 23 gold medals before retiring after the 2016 Olympics. The next closest gold medal count in history is nine, shared by several Olympians. The greatest college football coach of all time hosting the greatest Olympian of all time was a match made in heaven.
Saban’s Comments Following Phelps’ Speech
Unfortunately, no video or recording of any kind has been released to the public from the speech, but Saban gave his remarks. As many know, Saban brings in speakers during each offseason to not just teach his players lessons but to inspire them. Saban said this year’s speakers will fit into the theme of “choices” and how they can influence your life.
“It’s all about choices. Michael Phelps talked last night and said your actions speak louder than words,” Saban stated following the speech during a press conference. “The message is clear. We try to help our players to be successful in life…his message is of high impact for young people on how to face life, not just sports.”
Nobody is perfect, something Saban reminds his players daily, and neither is Phelps despite his extraordinary career. Phelps has been arrested for two DUIs and was also in a viral photo holding a bong in 2009, when marijuana amongst the American public was more vilified. Some of the mistakes Phelps made thankfully did not end his career, but he was lucky.
Former Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs made a fatal decision in the early morning hours of November 2, 2021, choosing to drive drunk in Las Vegas resulting in a crash that killed Tina Tintor, 23, and her dog that was also in the vehicle.
Ruggs had just been drafted months before and was set to make millions playing in the National Football League for years to come, but one decision ruined everything he had worked for his entire life.
Phelps Expected to Appear on ‘Bama Cuts’ Show
Even though Phelps’ speech to the team has not gone public, he was featured on Alabama Football’s Twitter page receiving a haircut in the room where “Bama Cuts” is shot.
The show was created in 2018 as a way to promote current and former players engaging in conversation with Saban and others. You can currently watch 14 episodes on the Alabama Crimson Tide YouTube channel.