July 29, 2015
EDITOR’S NOTE: On July 15, former Notre Dame women’s basketball guard and 2004 Purple Heart recipient Danielle Green (’99) was honored at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, receiving the second annual Pat Tillman Award for Service during the nationally-televised ceremony. In her own words, Danielle recounts that experience for Fighting Irish Media.
When I found out several weeks ago that I was being honored at the ESPY Awards with the 2015 Pat Tillman Award for Service, I was overwhelmed with both excitement and anxiety. I was excited about being the second recipient ever to receive the award and being recognized for my continued service to my fellow veterans. I was consumed with anxiety at the thought of going on stage and giving a speech in front of millions. This is very different from playing ball in front of thousands.
Preparation entailed being available for the media, allowing a camera crew to follow me for an entire day and preparing an inspirational speech. At one time, my speech was nine minutes long but after the speechwriter was consulted, the speech was condensed to 90 seconds. To my surprise, the message/content stayed the same. When I found out Oscar winner Halle Berry was going to present the Pat Tillman Award to me, I was flabbergasted. The thought of a mega superstar presenting an award to me was more than I could ever imagine.
When my family and I arrived at LAX, we were instantly greeted by our driver. I must admit that I was starting to enjoy the rock star treatment; we also flew first class. To be pampered by others felt wonderful. I talked to several media outlets about what the award meant to me, my past and present service to my country and my fellow veterans. After a couple of rehearsals, I felt confident that I would deliver a powerful speech. I just needed to take my time, breathe and focus.
Instead of feeling vulnerable, I felt empowered and in the end when it was time to execute, I delivered an effortless speech that was well received by thousands:
“The challenge: Ask yourself: what’s my purpose? What’s my passion? What do I want my legacy to be? How can I live as a full human being? Not all of us are Pat Tillman. But we can all find ways to serve our communities. We can all find ways to support the people around us. We can all find a purpose on this earth larger than ourselves.”
Throughout this experience, it was amazing to be in the presence of extraordinary people. I had the opportunity to meet several NFL players including Odell Beckham Jr., Chris Long, Devon Still, Russell Wilson and his girlfriend Ciara, plus NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, ESPN’s Chris Berman, Stephen A. Smith and Jay Bilas, Bob Baffert (the owner of Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh), Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie and her husband, and the lovely Little Leaguer, Mone Davis.
I truly enjoyed the moment and the kind remarks by many, but I must admit that I am happy to be back at home. I would like to thank my family and friends, my supporters, the veterans that I serve, the Pat Tillman Foundation, the South Bend community and the University of Notre Dame for being a part of this celebration and the continuing evolution of one Danielle Green.
– by Danielle Green