Valvano's ESPY speech was 20 years ago today - WNCT

Valvano's ESPY speech was 20 years ago today

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Seven weeks before he died, Jim Valvano gave a passionate speech at the first ESPY awards in New York on ESPN.

Twenty years have passed since that speech on March 4, 1993. But what Valvano said has resonated for two decades. He urged more money for cancer research, and he also encouraged those listening to make the most of their lives.

Valvano coached at N.C. State, winning a dramatic national title in 1983. He was forced out in 1990 and  became a successful ESPN broadcaster and before cancer struck.

"I just got one last thing, I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have," Valvano said. "To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get you're emotions going. To be enthusiastic every day and as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm," to keep your dreams alive in spite of problems whatever you have.

"The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality."

Valvano, 47, was helped off the stage by Dick Vitale and Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. Krzyzewksi  had entered the ACC the same year as Valvano and became exceptionally close to Valvano during his illness, visiting him often at Duke Hospital.

Valvano is buried in Raleigh's Oakwood Cemetery.

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