Jim Valvano in 1983 led his North Carolina State Wolfpack to a very improbable NCAA Basketball Championship. Looking back this is the game that made the NCAA Tournament what it is today. NCST that year was lucky to even be in the tournament. A string of great upsets got them into the tournament and then once they got in- another string of upsets put them up against the heavily favored Houston Cougars. NCST won at the buzzer! Jim Valvano ran out onto the court looking for someone to hug.
In June of 1992 he learned he had cancer. In less than a year he would be dead. Less than two months before his death he gave this inspirational acceptance speech at the ESPY Awards when he won the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. What a great speech. Jim Valvano died at age 47. He would have been 71 today.
A great documentary on Jimmy V and his NCST Wolfpack’s incredible championship in 1983 is the ESPN 30 for 30- Survive and Advance.
Below is Jimmy V’s remarkable speech.