Tonight was the annual Jimmy V Basketball Classic, an event that ESPN puts on every year to support the V Foundation for Cancer Research. For me, Jim Valvano’s speech that officially launched the V Foundation at the 1993 ESPY Awards ranks right up there on the “acceptable male tear-inducers” scale with Ray Kinsella asking, “Hey, Dad, wanna have a catch?”
The speech is probably the most inspiring I’ve seen in my life. I don’t think there’s much I can say about it that isn’t encapsulated in the speech itself. I was initially shocked when I couldn’t find it on YouTube, and almost uploaded it there myself, but then it occurred to me that selling videos of the speech is a big way in which the Foundation attracts donations. (That page also has clips from the speech, as well as a complete transcript.)
I know it’s a bit contrived, but I watch the speech each year when it’s televised during this event. It’s a powerful portrait of a man facing the premature end of his life, and the unbelievable courage he had. Few leave as inspiring a legacy as Jimmy V did.
Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.
I don’t think it could be said any better.