The Martin Luther King Legacy Day Committee is thrilled to announce that renowned former professional tennis player, James Blake, will be the keynote speaker at Babson’s flagship annual event on Wednesday, February 16, 2022. Author of Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together, Blake will share his life experiences with the Babson community, including how he overcame adversity on and off the court, as well as the value of perseverance.
Blake is no stranger to adversity and obstacles. At age 13, after beginning his tennis training at an inner-city sports program focused on engaging underprivileged youth, he was diagnosed with scoliosis. Blake battled through numerous challenges and ultimately became a two-time All-American at Harvard University before leaving after his sophomore year to become a professional tennis player.
Blake joined the professional circuit and was a rising star until 2004 when he had a debilitating year—experiencing a broken neck, a serious illness, and the death of his father. Blake remained physically and mentally strong. He came back to play professional tennis again in 2005 when he was named Comeback Player of the Year. Additionally, Blake earned ten ATP singles titles and seven doubles titles, was a top-ranked US player, became a Davis Cup champion for the USA, and was named the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year.