ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski urges the Class of 2022 to "surround yourself with truth-tellers, with those whose love is unfailing and honesty unflinching.”
One of the defining moments in Adrian Wojnarowski’s career came not when he was breaking news of another stunning NBA trade or free agent signing.
It came when his wife told him to suck it up.
ESPN’s Senior NBA Insider recounted the story in his speech to nearly 700 graduate and undergraduate students Sunday at St. Bonaventure University’s 162nd annual Commencement.
In 1997, Wojnarowski, Class of ’91, had taken a job as a columnist at the Bergen Record in New Jersey.
“Every morning on the sports pages, I had to go up against a lot of my heroes and idols in the business. And they were crushing me,” he said. “Day after day, story after story, I was getting destroyed. It got so bad, I woke up on a Monday morning and I wouldn’t get out of bed. I just laid there for hours, and told Amy, ‘I’m failing. I can’t make it in this market.’”
Amy, a Hellinger Award winner from the Class of ’92, had heard enough.
“Rightfully tired of all my whining … in so many words, she told me: Get your butt out of bed, stop feeling sorry for yourself and go do your job,” he said.
The lesson to graduates?
“Make sure you surround yourself with truth-tellers,” he said, “with those whose love is unfailing and honesty unflinching.”
Ten years later, Wojnarowski began carving out a remarkable niche in the industry as the foremost insider on the NBA for Yahoo Sports, eventually landing at ESPN in 2017.
Wojnarowski was among three remarkable alumni Sunday who received honorary doctorates.
Also honored were Tom Marra, ’80, retired president and CEO of Symetra Financial Corp., and retired Brigadier Gen. Maureen Keenan LeBoeuf, ’76, the first woman to chair a department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. LeBoeuf is part of the nine-sibling Keenan clan of Olean, whose father, Leo, taught English at SBU for 52 years and who also received an honorary degree, in 2000. All nine Keenans attended St. Bonaventure. Read the news release