A Review of Jimmy Va’s Emotional and Inspiring Speech at the ESPY Awards

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Jimmy Valls speech at the ESPY Awards was emotionally moving and inspiring. Through his powerful words he makes everyone who has ever watched it feel better and smile having listened to his advice on how to enjoy life. One line that he stated was “Cancer may take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things will carry on forever.” This speaks to his nature and attitude toward any object or brick wall in front of him.

In his speech he introduced the Jimmy V foundation to fight cancer. In reference to raising money for the foundation he said, “It might not be able to save my life, but it might be able to save my daughters life, or someone you love.” He could not have been more correct. The Jimmy V foundation has raised millions of dollars since its inception as a charity. Jimmy V wanted the best for everyone else in this world which is why he is a mentor to all and loved by so many.

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allDonällt give up, donällt ever give up. This quote was made famous by Jim in the last couple years of his life. It became the motto for the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. Though Jimmy V knew that he would soon die, he was still able to use this quote in the waning moments of his life. He had the never give up kind of attitude – one that many people try and emulate today.

Jimmy Valvano will always be remembered as one of sports greatest heroes because of the life that he lived, for his tremendous courage, and leadership on and off the court. Courage is a word that could definitely be synonymous with Jim Valvano. He was a world renowned coach that was once named coach of the year, and had a national championship under his belt.

After his coaching career, Jimmy V still wanted to stay in basketball somehow. Just one year after his retirement he decided to become a basketball commentator. Only after a couple years of doing so, he was the recipient of an award for cable television involving ESPN. It was in that same year that Jimmy V would have to show his real courage though – he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was just 10 short months later that he would die. The fight that he put up with during that time was truly remarkable.

Jimmy was able to accomplish a lot during his ten month battle with bone cancer that showed his tenacious attitude and perseverance. After being diagnosed he would return to ESPN calling color commentary during pre-season games. It is rumored Jim also returned to North Carolina State University to help celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the 1983 NCAA Basketball Championship. All of this took great determination and will to do during his time of illness.

It was the night of the first ever ESPY Awards show presented by ESPN when Jimmy Valvano delivered his powerful speech to the world. The ESPY&s are awards each year for great sports accomplishments and outstanding plays. They currently have a Jimmy V Courage Awarda for those who lead with a tremendous amount of courage and perseverance. Nonetheless, during this event Jimmy won the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. In his speech, he announced that with ESPNATs assistance he was starting the Jimmy V foundation for Cancer Research.

The Jimmy V foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to saving lives by helping to find a cure for cancer. The Foundation seeks to make a difference by generating support for cancer research and by creating an urgent awareness among all Americans of the importance of the war against cancer. The Foundation performs these dual roles through advocacy, education, fundraising, and philanthropy. The organization is a non-profit, tax-exempt foundation.

To have the tag of a leader is an ultimate sign of respect. Jim Valvano had that when he was alive and after he had passed. Some of his leadership skills he contributed to his father. Valvano gained a lot of confidence from his father, which in turn gave him the ability to have that same kind of confidence in himself. “My father gave the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me”. You could feel the enthusiasm in his voice and how much his fatherås faith motivated him. That confidence gave Jim the basis for the great leadership that he showed on and off the court as an individual and as a coach.

With leading Rutgers University as a player, the university thought his skills should be commended. James Valvano became the first player inducted into the Rutgers University Basketball Hall of Fame. The honors for Jimmy V would not end here. That next year, Jim Valvano would be inducted to the Iona College Hall of Fame. It is a true testament to the influence his leadership and courage had on people everywhere.

Jim Valvano s relationship also went back to North Carolina University with former Tar Heel coach Dean Smith. Many people were part of their “Basketball Family.” One other person that worked with Jimmy V that assisted a lot in the V Foundation was his dearest friend Dick Vitale. They were friends when he was at North Carolina State, and they called many basketball games together for ESPN.

After examination of Jim Valvanoas ESPY speech, it is no surprise why it is remembered as one of the most effective award acceptance speeches in history. Valvano utilizes the occasion and takes advantage of his situation and natural charisma to construct a speech that audiences cannot help but be emotionally moved by. What he essentially did was take a tragic event in his life and turn it into a window of opportunity, basically making his cancer diagnosis a chance to make an important societal change. Considering the V Foundation has raised over eighty million dollars for cancer research, Jimmy V took full advantage of that chance.

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A Review of Jimmy Va’s Emotional and Inspiring Speech at the ESPY Awards. (2023, Jun 13). Retrieved from


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