Justin Timberlake won his 23rd surfboard at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday. (Photo: Getty Images)
Be nice to your parents! Seriously, though, that’s what Justin Timberlake wants you to do.
On Sunday night, J.T. was honored with the Decade Award at the 2016 Teen Choice Awards. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant came out of retirement to present the award to the pop icon. While this was Timberlake’s 23rd Teen Choice Award — which is pretty impressive if you ask us — it seems that being on that stage still hasn’t lost any of its magic. The 35-year-old father of one used his time in the spotlight to give a powerful, heartfelt message to teenagers everywhere.
Watch Timberlake’s speech:
“As a former teen, a while ago, who’s made a few choices along the way, I’m here to tell you that you and your choices matter,” he began with a smile. “I grew up in Millington, Tenn., just outside of Memphis, where I was blessed to be raised by parents and a family who taught me some big lessons. They taught me to respect them. They taught me to respect myself and to respect all people on the basis of their character — not where they live, not what they did for a living, or the color of their skin.”
He then shifted his focus to lessons that could be learned from others, or, more specifically, Muhammad Ali.
“Muhammad Ali fought in the ring, but he fought for peace too. And he became the heavyweight champion of the world because, as we all know, he could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Our world lost that champ this year, so tonight, I want to share three pieces of his undying wisdom that have helped me and may help you along your journey,” Timberlake said.
Timberlake accepting the Decade Award. (Photo: Getty Images)
“Number one, Champ said this: ‘Don’t count the days, make the days count.’ Pretty good. Now you are young, as I once was, but do not think for a moment that what you do doesn’t count. It does. Not just to you, but also to the world and your generation, who will someday inherit this world from old-timers like me and Kobe,” Timberlake, who is married to Jessica Biel, said with a laugh.
“Number two, the Champ said this: ‘Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.’ So be generous, be kind, be fair. It’s not just the right thing to do. It’s the good thing to do,” he continued. “I think we all can agree that with all the tension in the world today that can divide us, we should be part of the solution and not part of the problem. You don’t have to make a difference on a global stage. You can volunteer in your neighborhood or in another neighborhood nearby where people might look a little different from you, and they might teach you a thing or two.”
Justin’s friend, Kobe Bryant, presented him with the award. (Photo: Getty Images)
“Third, and finally, here’s maybe the greatest thing a teen or anyone in this room and who’s watching on the television at home can learn from the Champ. These are words to remember when anyone tries to tell you to give up, tell you to give in, because whatever you’re trying to do is impossible. The champ said this: ‘Impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.’” He paused and added, “Greatest quote ever.”
Timberlake hammed it up with Keegan-Michael Key in the audience. (Photo: Getty Images)
The “Suit and Tie” singer then reflected on his own personal life.
“As a relatively new dad and a former teen, I’m here to say you will make mistakes along the way. You will fall down. I have many times. Even Ali did. But what we do after that fall is how we make history, because impossible is nothing,” he stated before making a plea. “Don’t waste your 20s. They’re gonna be here before you know it, and they will go fast. Be nice to your parents." He laughed and added, "I hope my son watches this one day." With a smile, he continued, "They aren’t perfect either, but they have been through this movie before, and they love you more than you can imagine. So go out, do the impossible and just go on and become the greatest generation yet.”
If that didn’t inspire every teen watching, we don’t know what will.