Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 1/22/13

Long before he was a basketball coach or Nike executive, George Raveling was a part of history. On Aug. 28, 1963, Raveling, a former basketball coach at USC, Washington State, and Iowa, stood beside Dr. Martin Luther King as the civil rights leader gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington D.C. Raveling even asked for and received an original copy of the speech from Dr. King. The story has been told many times over the years, but in light of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrated on Monday, we’d like to share it here. Raveling was 24 and living in Wilmington, Del., following his career as an All-American basketball player for Villanova. He was eating dinner at his friend’s house the day before 100,000 people were expected to march on Washington. The parents of his friend, Warren Wilson, suggested the two drive to D.C. to participate, and they did. What happened next was fate intervening. Or genetics. Raveling and Wilson were stopped by someone the day before the speech and asked if they would be able to work security during the event. The two men, who stood out because of their large size, agreed to help the short-staffed group. Raveling says he and Wilson were so excited to participate that they showed up an hour early — before everyone else arrived — and they were assigned to protect the speaker on stage. Raveling can be seen in photos standing to King’s left during the speech. After King finished his speech, he was walking across stage when a quick-thinking Raveling asked the orator for a copy of the speech. King turned and gave it to him. Raveling has the speech — which is marked with underlining and other notations made by King — framed and in a bank vault (as of 10 years ago). Interestingly, Raveling notes that the original speech did not mention the “I have a dream” parts for which it was named, and that Dr. King deviated from his written speech. Raveling also says the speech was not titled. A story from Time points out that King had talked about his dream in four previous speeches and likely was not planning to on this occasion. But King was captivating the audience and, at the urging of Mahalia Jackson, he finally talked about his dream. “Of course nobody, including myself, realized that this was going to take on the historical significance that it did,” said Raveling. Raveling, who was once denied a hotel room while traveling with his Villanova team because of his color, says the speech helped shape his life. Below is a video put together by “Inside the NBA” sharing Raveling’s story: The post George Raveling owns a copy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech appeared first on Larry Brown Sports. Related posts: ESPN Buries Mike Greenberg Martin Luther Coon Slipup Story, Apology Indiana Coach Kevin Wilson Owns Zakk and Jack Radio Show (Audio) Kenyon Martin: George Karl needs to keep his mouth shut about his former players

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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