Kyle Lowry delivers heartfelt speech after receiving honorary doctorate

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors in action against the New York Knicks during a game at Madison Square Garden on April 11, 2021 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Raptors 102-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry delivered a heartfelt speech after receiving an honorary doctorate from Acadia University. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry continues to exhibit his ability to make an impact on and off the court after receiving a Doctorate in Humanities on Sunday from Acadia University for his contributions to society.

During a virtual convocation for Acadia's graduating class of 2021, the 35-year-old guard delivered a heartfelt speech and credited his family for molding him into the person he’s become throughout his illustrious NBA career.

"[My mom and grandma] did everything to provide, to take care, and protect me and my brother, no matter what the situation was and how hard they had to work," Lowry said. "I had guys like Dave Distel [my high school assistant coach], who would drive 20 minutes out of his way to make sure I got home so that no harm would touch my way. People like that are very important to me and my life

Lowry also thanked Jay Wright, his head coach at Villanova University, for shaping him into the man that he is today.

He told me, "One thing about it Kyle, is that you have to always be a legit man, no matter what the situation is,'" he said. “It’s because of people like that, the ones that I just mentioned, is the reason a kid from North Philadelphia had a real shot to make it out truly and make a life for himself. And here’s the thing, they didn’t have to do that and I knew that."

These selfless acts of kindness are what inspired Lowry to establish the Lowry Love Foundation alongside his wife and co-founder, Ayahna Cornish-Lowry in 2013, which looks to improve the lives of the underprivileged and disadvantaged of Philadelphia and Toronto to help them attain a better quality of life. The foundation has also, for the fifth straight year, provided more than 200 well-stocked Thanksgiving food hampers to Toronto families in need.

“No matter what the situation is, I was always going to pay it forward and give back, no matter what it looked like for me,” Lowry said. “My service wasn’t dependent on whether I became a professional athlete or not. I always knew that no matter where I ended up in life, that I would always give back in everything I had - whether that be my time, financial resources, or mentoring - because I know what it’s like to not be seen.”

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Lowry is one of seven people to have received an honorary doctorate and commended the graduating class of 2021 on their determination, perseverance, and resiliency in their studies in the midst of a pandemic.

The six-time All-Star then encouraged Acadia’s graduating class to consider how they will pay it forward, impact their community, or an inspiration for the next generation.

"Success can’t be accomplished alone. It’s because of my family’s sacrifices and those who genuinely cared to invest in me and who I am, that I beat the odds," Lowry said. "Leading is not only about achieving your own goals, but is also about uplifting others to achieve theirs."

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