UK Happenings

‘The Attitude Advantage.’: Lewis Honors College Speaker Series welcomes Jesse LeBeau 

photo of Jesse LeBeau
Photo courtesy of Jesse LeBeau.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 21, 2022) — On Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 4 p.m., the University of Kentucky Lewis Honors College Speaker Series will welcome actor, author, motivator and basketball trick artist Jesse LeBeau. 

The event will be in-person in the Lewis Honors College Scholars Lounge and open to the entire UK community.  

The purpose of the Lewis Honors College Speaker Series is to better prepare the Lewis Honors College students for the challenges and opportunities of life by covering topics including self-awareness, personal values, character development, leadership, critical thinking, decision making, financial literacy, career planning, success and happiness; and to educate the Lewis Honors College students regarding the American values of individual liberty, free enterprise, personal responsibility, faith, family, patriotism, intellectual diversity, community engagement and civic responsibility. 

At a young age, LeBeau, a native of a remote Alaskan island, developed a love for sports, particularly basketball. However, at 5 feet 8 inches tall, he had nearly every odd stacked against him. Despite his size and circumstances, he managed to make a name for himself in the world of streetball, regularly featured on TV, film and international tours. He has played in nationally televised games and landed starring roles in commercials for Kobe Bryant and with other NBA players such as Dwayne Wade, Rajon Rondo, Blake Griffin and Amare Stoudemire. He was also featured in the 2012 Warner Bros. film, “Thunderstruck,” starring Kevin Durant. Playing under the nickname "Spin Cycle," he has had the opportunity to be coached by Matt Barnes, Chauncey Billups and Dennis Rodman to name a few. 

LeBeau’s underdog story has inspired people through his speaking engagements, books and personal development programs. In 2017, he started the Attitude Is Everything Foundation (AIEF) as a resource for young people to have ongoing support throughout difficult teenage years, particularly targeting the area of self-esteem.  

In his talk at the Lewis Honors College, LeBeau will entertain with basketball tricks and inspire with his relatable underdog story. Armed with a sense of humor and a healthy dose of optimism, he hopes to help students in the everyday struggle of forming and discovering their true identify and purpose.  

“I am thrilled with the opportunity to speak to Lewis Honors College students and help them realize that the biggest obstacle they'll ever face in their lives is themselves.” 

For more information on the event, visit

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.