Justin Timberlake was honored as the first recipient of the Decade Award at the Teen Choice Awards 2016.
Kobe Bryant was on hand to present the pop superstar with the surfboard award during Sunday’s show, calling him a “king of all media” and a “friend.” Following his praise, Timberlake delivered a moving speech that acknowledged some of the legendary artists that came before him.
“To all you teens out there, I ask you to not learn from my example, but from the example of all the greats that have come before me,” said the “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” singer. “For me, a big moment growing up was when I discovered that there was a music legend living right down the street from me, the Reverend Al Green, who taught the world a lesson that resonates now, I think, more than ever: let’s stay together. I learned from so many music greats: Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder.”
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) August 1, 2016
JT also addressed another icon’s teachings during his speech, when he opened up about advice he received from the late Muhammad Ali.
“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing,” added Timberlake. “Greatest quote ever.”
During the ceremony at L.A.’s Forum, Timberlake also spoke about the less-than-stellar moments in his life and how much they helped him grow.
“As a relatively new dad and a former teen, I’m here to say you will make mistakes along the way,” he explained. “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. So don’t waste your 20s. They’re gonna be here before you know it, and they will go fast. Be nice to your parents. 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.”
Watch Timberlake’s wise words below.