James Lofton Inspires Students


Gold Jacket James Lofton is used to interviewing athletes for his job with Westwood One Radio, but today he was on the other side of the microphone. Lofton participated in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s nationally acclaimed Heart of a Hall of Famer series, which was moderated by WHBC talk show host Kenny Roda. The series provides students the opportunity to learn first-hand what it took beyond athletic ability for legendary Heroes of the Game to achieve success on and off the field with a focus on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Gold Jacket Standards of Character (Commitment, Integrity, Courage, Respect and Excellence).

Nearly 300 students from 13 schools were able to view the program live at the Hall of Fame. It was also broadcasted on Facebook Live where over 4,000 fans tuned in to watch Lofton.

Before the program began, Lofton had every teacher, administrator and coach stand from the live audience and be recognized by the students. He felt they should be acknowledged for the work they put in to help shape the lives of students.

The former Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills wide receiver then proceeded to share many stories and lessons he learned throughout his life. His overall messages to the students was to do something you love and to surround yourself with people that will support you.

“I think the thing to learn is that you want to be passionate about something. You want to have fun doing it. If that’s not the case find something else to do. Everybody’s not going to be a professional athlete. But as you get older you’re going to find something that you’re really passionate about,” Lofton explained to the students.

Lofton also talked about his dad, who raised him in a single-parent home and guided him throughout his life. He recalled his time at Stanford University when he first signed up for classes. He took the maximum class credits allowed in a quarter, which included the courses he needed for his degree in engineering (advanced calculus and physics). He didn’t pass those classes and decided engineering may not be for him. Lofton was nervous about how he would break the news to his father. He expected the worst, but his father’s response shocked him. He said to Lofton “You’ll go off to college, work as hard as you can. You’ll figure out something that you’re good at.” Those words inspired Lofton to go back and retake the classes. He passed the courses and ended up being an Academic All-American and graduated in four years.

“I didn’t give up. It was really my dad …the fact that he supported me.”

Fans can watch the program in its entirety below in Facebook Live.

This was the last program for this year’s Heart of a Hall of Famer series. The series will continue next fall. A schedule of the Hall of Famers participating will be announced sometime in the near future. To learn about the Hall of Fame’s Youth and Education Program, Click Here>>>

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