Denzel Washington drops some gems on Miami Heat players, motivating the team

Washington's inspiring words must have had a powerful effect: The Heat won their NBA playoff series game Sunday 110-86.

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It was almost like a scene from the 2000 movie Remember the Titans when Denzel Washington, portraying Coach Herman Boone, motivated a group of high school football players to a victory. 

But this was real life. According to Sports Illustrated, Washington happened upon several players for the Miami Heat in a hotel lobby Sunday and took the time to impart some wisdom before their playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks — which the Heat then went on to win by over 20 points.

Denzel Washington
Honoree Denzel Washington speaks onstage during the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award honoring him at Dolby Theatre on June 06, 2019, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

“Keep raising the standard about how you carry yourself … learn from the best, and pass it on,” Washington said, in part, according to a clip shared by the news outlet on Twitter. “The last thing I’ll say, which I’ve said a lot of times: You never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. I’ll say it again: You never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. You can’t take it with you.”

The two-time Academy Award-winning actor told a story about Elston Howard, a Black baseball player in the ’60s who Washington admired. “I wanted to be him, I tried to walk like him … You know that they’re watching you, and they’re following,” he said of fans admiring their favorite professional athletes. 

“Your influence, your power, your wisdom, your ability to touch people — because everybody’s watching. Everybody’s got a favorite guy … you know that they’re watching, and they’re following,” Washington said. “And especially for the young boys: Listen to your elders, lead quietly — and win.”

It seems the screen icon’s words may have had a powerful effect. The Heat won the series’ Game Four on Sunday 110-86, taking a commanding three-game lead in the NBA playoffs. 

According to Collider, Washington is gearing up for the next installment in the Equalizer series, he told the site in January.

“They have written the third Equalizer, so I’m scheduled to do that,” he said. “So I gotta get in shape and start beating people up again. I get to beat people up again. The Tragedy of Macbeth and then going and beating some people up. Can’t get any better, right?”

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