Bob Love grew up in near poverty, with thirteen brothers and sisters in small Louisiana town, the last person in his family to be born on a plantation. Bob dreamed of being a professional basketball player and practiced everyday with a coat hanger hoop nailed to the side of his grandmother’s door.
As a 6’8” high school senior, Bob’s basketball dream became a reality. Bob played college basketball for Southern University in Louisiana and was named to the All- American Team by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. After college, Bob played for the Cincinnati Royals, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Chicago Bulls, and the Seattle Supersonics.
Bob played for the Bulls from 1969-1976. For seven straight years he led the Chicago Bulls in team scoring. He is third in history in points scored for the Chicago Bulls only behind Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen. Bob was a 3-time NBA All Star and named 3 times to the second NBA All-defensive squad, scoring 12,623 points in his illustrious career.
Despite his great success as an athlete, Bob never had an endorsement deal, and was hardly ever interviewed after games because he was unable to speak due to a stuttering problem he had had since childhood. Bob dreamed of being able to speak to large audiences like his hero Martin Luther King Jr. When his basketball career ended due to a back injury, Bob found himself jobless. It took him seven years to find a job at a Seattle Nordstrom Café as a dishwasher earning $4.45 an hour. He endured humiliation as customers and former players recognized him busing tables. He would hear people whisper, “Hey that’s Bob Love… he was a great basketball player…. what a shame.”
At the age of 45, Nordstrom helped find a speech therapist that helped him learn how to speak without stuttering and realize his dream. The Chicago Bulls heard Bob’s story and in 1992 hired Bob as the Director of Community Relations. He makes over 300 appearances each year, including addressing more than 250,000 young people and their parents about the importance of staying in school, getting an education, perseverance over adversity, and achieving one’s dreams.
He is considered one of the top motivational speakers in the sports field in the country. After 45 years of being unable to speak, his own dream has finally come true. Today, when people ask him what he does for a living, he tells them, “I TALK.” Bob Love’s story is one of struggle and survival, of hope and of love. It is a story of everyone’s struggle to face their own shortcomings, and to succeed in life in spite of the obstacles that are placed before us.
Bob ran for Chicago Alderman in the 2002 election and lost. Bob has earned many awards and recognitions including: the Individual Achievement Award for Communicative Disorders, the Oscar Robertson Leadership Award, and the March of Dimes Lifetime Achievement Award. A documentary about Bob Love, called “Find Yourself A Dream.” has won an Emmy® Award, and “Butterbean” is a full length feature film inspired by his life story (2010).
- If It's Gonna Be, It's Up to Me
- Dreams Come True
- Life After Basketball
- You've Got to Do It Yourself
- What to Do When All Seems Lost
- 5 Rules for the Game of Life
Sports, Motivation, Success, Attitude, Celebrity, Minority
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“Bob was wonderful. Audience members were ready to cry at the end of his story. Our company was bought out by Motorola and going through a lot of changes at the time, Bob’s story really hit close to home.” - Motorola BCS
“He war terrific. His story is fascinating. Every person in the room was able to get something important out of his presentation from elementary school children to faculty, staff, and parents.” - Parent Education, Lake Forest Country Day
“Bob was wonderful. He was very warm to the crowd and everybody really liked him. He was a great storyteller and had a great story to tell.” - National School Board Association
“He was a lovely man and he had a wonderful story to tell. Our board of directors enjoyed meeting him.” - Indiana Nursery & Landscape Association