If you have turned on ESPN for even a minute this week, you’ve probably seen countless advertisements for the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. Jimmy Valvano was a basketball coach at NC State starting in 1980. He led the Wolfpack to one of the most incredible NCAA tournament wins of all time in the 1982-83 season.
During this tournament run, NC State was a complete underdog even making it into the tournament. Almost every game went into overtime and the championship game was won by an incredible buzzer-beater dunk.
Around a decade later and after Valvano retired, the NC State coach was diagnosed with cancer. In 1993, Jimmy Valvano spoke at the ESPYs, an award show from ESPN. In this speech, Valvano stated the infamous line “don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” Jimmy Valvano died two months later. He was only 47.
Despite such a tragic ending, the Jimmy V for Cancer Research was started in Valvano’s name. It is one of the leading charities in cancer research, raising over $200 million. Jimmy V week is from December 1-12 which is sponsored by ESPN. Jimmy Valvano is even still a prominent figure on the NC State campus, with a statue of him right outside of Reynolds Colosseum.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you should watch Valvano’s ESPYs speech. Jimmy Valvano was and still is an inspiration for many. For a further look into the 1982-83 Wolfpack men’s basketball team, watch the 30 for 30 entitled “Survive and Advance,” it can be bought on streaming platforms such as Amazon. Most importantly, check out www.v.org. It is an incredible site with plenty of information and ways to donate directly to cancer research.