The Speech that Lives On

Jim Valvano won a National Championship as a college basketball coach. He showed off his vivacious personality on and off the court, and he shined behind the microphone. He was a legendary coach, commentator and character. But he’ll forever be remembered for a speech that changed the world. At the inaugural ESPYS in 1993, not only did he, along with ESPN, launch the V Foundation for Cancer Research, he also delivered a speech that is still as inspiring and motivational today as the day it was given.

Although cancer would take Jim’s life just months after his iconic speech, he wanted to do everything he could to ensure other lives might be saved.



“We Need Money for Research”

Jim had seen the great work being done in AIDS research, and he wanted to see the same progress in cancer research. So, he joined forces with ESPN to create the V Foundation. Since then:

“Don’t Ever Give Up”

Jim’s speech was a monumental move forward in garnering support for cancer research, but its legacy is much more than that. His words are a rallying cry for anyone who needs a boost, especially those going through a cancer journey. A few of our favorites:


“Laugh, Think and Cry”

Jim’s description of the three things we should all do every day are the perfect embodiment of what creates a “Heck of a day.”

“Cancer cannot touch …”

Jim gave a powerful reminder that while cancer may diminish your physical abilities, there are three things that will carry on forever.

“It May Save Someone You Love”

While Jim was aware that his prognosis was not good, he urged us to continue fighting to potentially save someone else’s life.

Join Us!

ESPN and the V Foundation team up every December to raise awareness and funding for cancer research. This year, V Week runs from Giving Tuesday, December 1, through December 12. Join us for V Week, as each ONE of us comes together as ONE community with ONE mission – to defeat cancer.