Newman Prize: Jordon Ryan '20 and Allie Lane '21

During assembly on Wednesday, March 11, Jordon Ryan described his visit with Shark Tank investor and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as the Class of 2020 recipient of the Newman Prize.
Established in 1992 by Mark Vittert ’65, the award annually gives a member of the junior class the opportunity to meet with a famous American of choice. Its namesake is the late Eric Newman ’28, who was a student at JBS on opening day in 1923. Interested juniors submit a brief application, listing the five living Americans with whom they'd like to meet, and are then interviewed by a small panel of alums, including Andy Newman '62 (Eric's son), Lisa Greenman Kraner '71 and Liberty Vittert '06 (Mark Vittert's daughter).
During assembly, Andy Newman announced that Allie Lane is the Class of 2021 prize recipient.
Jordon's prepared remarks and Allie's choices follow.


Good morning students, faculty, staff, Newman Prize Committee and Mr. Abbott. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to share with you my Newman Prize experience. I’m really grateful for everyone who was responsible for pulling this trip together for me, and it is an experience that I'll remember for a lifetime. Last year, the five people that I hoped to meet were NBA great Michael Jordan; inspirational teacher and preacher Joel Osteen, because he always posts encouraging and motivating words that keep me going; sports commentator Stephen A. Smith, because I have hopes of becoming a sports commentator one day;Shark Tank investor and Dallas Mavs Owner Mark Cuban; and the late NBA great, Kobe Bryant. Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant, and many prayers out to his family and close friends.

I’m pleased to announce that I met…Mr. Mark Cuban!
I took a trip to Dallas, Texas in early December (with my mom as my travel partner), where I was able to spend some time meeting and learning from one of the best businessmen the world has seen. Our meeting took place at the Dallas 

Mavericks Headquarters that was near the stadium. I was so awestruck when I walked in! From the motivational quotes in the entryway, to the different jerseys they've had over the years, and photos of the players on the wall.

Mr. Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, one of the Sharks and investors on Shark Tank, the co-owner of 2929 Entertainment, and the chairman of AXS TV. Cuban attended The University of Pittsburgh and finished up at Indiana University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Management. He shared with me that he left school with $60 in his pocket and shared an apartment with five other roommates. Then his first job out of college was technology-related — THIS is when he discovered his love of technology. One piece of advice he gave me was to try lots of things and keep going until you find the one thing you're good at! His love for technology led to him owning his own technology company, which is later sold for 6 million dollars, and five years after that, he and a friend created an online streaming service which Yahoo later acquired for over 5 billion in stock! Cuban told me that once you find the thing you're good at, make sure that I continue to read and gain knowledge because it gives you an advantage and competitive edge.
Mr. Cuban had a lot of great advice and insight that will not only help me in life, but to be smart about business as well. I learned a lot from him and would like to share some of the points and advice he gave me. 

There were many great stories and quotes that Mr. Cuban shared with me, but here are some of the ones that stood out the most. During our conversation, he asked me my goals. First, I told him about my desire to play collegiate ball, and once I told him I was going to play for Grinnell College, he expressed excitement over their style of playing ball! I also shared that I could even see myself as a GM for a basketball team. His response, "instead of being the GM, OWN THE TEAM."

Another one of my interests is sports commentating and debating. Mr. Cuban responded by saying, “Instead of starting the debate show, own the network it’s on, and then you can debate whenever you would want to because you'd be the owner!” This taught me that I should always strive for greater and the highest. Here's what he said: "You can be better than that. Own the network, run the media company...debate sports with your smart, and find ways to change the world. Control your own destiny, and you can do whatever you please!"

A few more things he shared:

  • Know your strengths, and work hard to improve and build them
  • The biggest Investment you can make is in YOURSELF. (You don’t have to know exactly what you will do, but know your positives and follow through once you find your strength.)
  • Be able to do everyone’s job.
  • Work your way up in the company, learn all of the jobs/roles and do them well!
  • Be smart, change the world. (One of the things Mr. Cuban said was to always read and gain more knowledge to keep up with investments and future investments. This allows you to plan ahead and change the world.)
  • Instead of being just a part of the business, own the business. Aim higher! Be the boss! (Instead of being the GM, be the owner. For example, Mr. Cuban worked his way up in businesses and gained more ownership. With the Dallas Mavericks, he managed his money well and bought into the organization.)
  • Be honest with yourself. (Know what you’re good at — if you’re good at something people will gravitate to you.)
  • Never be afraid to fail (Mr. Cuban also says that you should never be afraid to fail. For one, you will learn from mistakes and be more wise in the future, and secondly, you will find where you work the best only through trying new things you may be unsure about.)
  • You're young enough to try new experiences, you don't have to have it all figured out right now.
  • Ask yourself, why not me, why not you?? You can do anything you put your mind to.

The second day of my trip, to my surprise, John Burroughs arranged for me to attend my first NBA game between the Mavericks and the Pelicans. The school blessed me with amazing seats right above one of the tunnels the players come out of. It was such a true blessing for me to attend my first NBA game. It was exciting to see a number of star players in person, including players like Brandon Ingram, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The Mavericks won a great game at home, with Luka Doncic standing out during the game, leading his team to a large victory. You know I had to rep the Luka Doncic jersey today. After the game, I took a flight back to St. Louis. 

Jordon Ryan '20 at a basketball game as part of his Newman Prize trip

Overall, I had an amazing trip to Dallas, Texas, and a great experience meeting with Mr. Cuban. I would like to thank all of the people that were involved in making this life-changing trip happen. Thank you to the Newman Prize Committee for interviewing with me and taking the time to get to know me, thank you to John Burroughs for putting together such a nice trip, and thank you to Ms. Salrin and Mrs. Swicord for helping keep me up to date on the trip and for planning it. I learned so much from Mr. Cuban, and I’m looking forward to using all of what he taught me as I approach my career and future. I will always remember the life-changing advice Mr. Cuban gave me, whenever facing business, investments, and life as well. Thank you. 

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