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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Weaving the Tenets of Success

    On March 7th, Tiki Barber, the recently retired NFL running back for the New York Giants, spoke to SB students, staff, faculty, and community members about his life, the meaning of excellence, and his motivation to succeed. Barber’s speech was followed by a question and answer session and was the first installment of the Undergraduate Student Government Lecture Series.

    Barber’s premise for the lecture was the idea of excellence, and how he defines it. He spoke, ‘Excellence is state of being superior’hellip;what you do when now one is watching’hellip;how you respond to mistakes’hellip;making other people excellent.’

    He emphasized the influence his mother had on him growing up stating several times how he was not allowed to play sports unless his homework was finished.

    Barber repeatedly mentioned his drive to improve himself as a football player and a person. He summarized his own views of the relationship between opportunity, success, and luck with a quotation from Thomas Jefferson, the founder of the University of Virginia. Barber, who graduated from University of Virginia, said, ‘[Quoted from Thomas Jefferson], I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more luck I have.’

    Barber described, along the lines of the Jefferson quotation, ‘Luck comes at the crossroads of preparedness and opportunity.’ He emphasized, ‘You have to be prepared for your opportunities.’ For many individuals in the audience, many of them members of the local community, meeting Tiki Barber was a dream come true. One individual spoke, ‘I’m an old school Giants fan, and I just wanna say, I love you Tiki.’

    A mother in the audience made her 14-year-old son stand up next to her. She asked Barber to tell her son, who was going to be on his high school varsity football team in the coming year, the importance of school work. Barber answered by restating how his mother would not let him play football without doing his homework. Barber continued, speaking directly to the woman’s son, ‘You have to be a good student to play football, especially in the NFL. You have to be smart and disciplined.’ For all aspiring football players in the audience, Barber advised, ‘Have fun playing and learn the game.’

    At age 31, Barber has now retired from the NFL will be a broadcaster for the NBC’s ‘Today’ Show.’ In addition, Barber and his twin brother Ronde have started their own series of children’s books. Three books have already been published with two books still in the making.

    Barber is considered by many as one of the greatest running backs in New York Giants history. In his 10-year career, which concluded with the 2006 season, he rushed and received for over 15,000 yards. He played all 10 years with the Giants, after they took him in the 2nd round of the 1997 NFL draft. He became the starting running back within a year. He struggled in his second year, but was back in form by 2000. His play was relatively mistake-free, with only 21 fumbles lost in 10 years, including only 1 in each of the past 2 years. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in each of his last 3 years. His identical twin brother, Ronde, still plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    William Lahti contributed reporting.

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