Jim Valvano – Jimmy V – died on April 28, 1993 at the age of 47. He died of cancer – metastatic adenocarcinoma – which he had been battling for almost a year.
If you’re somewhere around my age of younger – 26, born in ’87 – you obviously have no memory of his North Carolina State team winning the 1983 NCAA championship, the basketball version known as March Madness.
But you may have seen the highlights, of Valvano running around the court in the frantic moments after his Wolfpack had really won the title.
You may have also seen his speech at the 1993 ESPYs, less than two months before he died. (I actually hadn’t seen it until just a couple of days ago, and I now realize that every famous sports speech I know word-by-word must have been, in some way, inspired by Valvano’s own.)
It’s 11 minutes of heartwarming, comedic glory. It’s introspective and retrospective, touching and tickling. It’s now iconic. Why? Because it’s always relevant.
And on the 21st anniversary of the speech, on the evening of the 2014 ESPY awards – hosted by Drake, starting at 6 p.m. Pacific time – the world’s sports network is letting you live it again.
“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”