Jim Valvano had cancerous tumors throughout his entire body when he gave this speech in 1993, 10 years after he led the North Carolina State Wolfpack to the NCAA Tournament Championship. Two months later Jimmy V passed away. It didn't matter how sick he was or how stacked the odds were against him. Jim Valvano was going to win. His mind set was that of believing in the power of positive reinforcement. Valvano's life is like a motivational blueprint for how to maximize one's abilities. As a coach he taught his players to rely on each other on and off the court. He didn't just yell and scold his players. He coached, yelled, scolded, listened, loved, talked, encouraged, inspired and motivated them.
To say the 1983 NC State team won against all odds is 100% factual. They were a talented team, but they had no business winning the National Championship. From the very beginning, Coach Valvano instilled a belief in the minds of his players. He told them they would win the national title. Year by year they got closer and closer. 1980 to 1983, Valvano's first class of players had become seniors and they had one last chance to realize their coach's dream to "cut the nets down."
They did the impossible. They won the ACC Tournament. They beat the defending champion Tar Heels & MJ. They defeated Ralph Sampson and Virginia twice. They overcame one deficit after another. Coach Valvano game-planned and improvised strategically whenever the situation demanded it. He coached with the same fervor and love that which he lived. His players responded to every challenge. Insurmountable odds meant nothing to Valvano's Wolfpack, for the only thing insurmountable was the dream & the belief. And it wasn't just rah rah speeches and powerful words that carried that team to victory. Sidney Lowe, Dereck Whittenburg, Ernie Myers and Thurl Bailey all averaged double figures in scoring while shooting close to %50 from the field for the season. Finally in the Championship Game when the chips were all-in, the Wolfpack outcoached, outsmarted and outclassed the supremely talented and athletically gifted Phi Slamma Jamma University of Houston team, with 2 future NBA Hall of Famers Drexler & Olajuwon.
The story is too good for words, and the words don't come even close to the man Jim Valvano. He was and is the words. He wrote the script and directed the character of the characters along the journey. The V Foundation created by Jimmy V and ESPN in his name, continues to provide for cancer research in the hope that one day another dream of Jim's will be reached. Jim Valvano continues to inspire the World twenty years after he left us and he always will. Visit the V Foundation for Cancer Research website, watch "The Speech" and prepare to be moved... http://www.jimmyv.org/