Centenary announces Herb “Flight Time” Lang as 2023 commencement speaker

SHREVEPORT, LA — Herb Lang, a 1998 graduate of Centenary College and 18-year veteran of The World Famous Harlem Globetrotters, will deliver the commencement address to Centenary College’s Class of 2023 during commencement exercises held in the College’s Gold Dome on Saturday, May 6.

“We are very excited to have ‘Flight Time’ back in the Gold Dome,” said Centenary president Dr. Christopher L. Holoman. “Herb’s story is inspirational, as well as fun to hear. It is great to know that Centenary helped him discover and develop his considerable talents, both on and off the court.”

Lang grew up in Arkansas and was a standout student-athlete at Brinkley High School before coming to Centenary. While playing basketball for the Centenary Gents, Lang led the Trans-America Athletic Conference in scoring and won the National Association of Basketball Coaches Slam Dunk Contest on ESPN in 1998. Following his graduation that year, Lang was invited to the Globetrotters training camp and spent the next 18 years with the organization as a player and coach.

“Centenary opened up the doors to the world for me,” said Lang. “I’m excited to share with the graduates the possibilities awaiting them.”

After retiring from basketball in 2017, Lang has continued his globetrotting as a keynote speaker, actor, and best-selling author. Lang is proud to be playing the role of former Globetrotter Louis “Babe” Pressley in the new movie Sweetwater, filmed last summer and set to be released in theaters April 14, 2023. Sweetwater tells the story of Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton, a Globetrotters star who made history as the first African-American player to sign an NBA contract.

Lang has visited over 100 countries and has had the opportunity to interact with many influential individuals worldwide, most notably President Barack Obama and Pope Francis. Lang has also participated in numerous popular TV shows and contests, including HGTV’s 100 Day Dream Home, The Price is Right, Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader, and three seasons of CBS’s The Amazing Race. These experiences have allowed him to spread his mantra, #kindnessisfree, a principle that he was taught as a child that still guides his daily life and interactions.

“I am just a small-town Arkansas kid who has been blessed to have so many amazing life-changing opportunities,” Lang has written. “I truly believe it’s important to treat others even better than you expect to be treated. Every major accomplishment in my life has been the direct result of others speaking up for me, trusting me, and believing I would not fail them in doing so.”

The 2023 commencement exercises at Centenary begin at 10:30 a.m. and are free and open to the public. More information, including live streaming links that will be available on the day of the ceremony, is available at centenary.edu/graduation.

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