N.C. State honors Jim Valvano with uniforms
by Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports
Prepare to get goosebumps.
N.C. State will wear special uniforms honoring Jim Valvano at next week’s Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The red jerseys feature Valvano’s famous rallying cry “don’t ever give up” on the back.
You know all about that famous speech at the 1993 ESPYs, delivered eight weeks before Valvano died from cancer. His inspirational words live on today with The V Foundation for Cancer Research, which has awarded more than $90 million to 100 cancer facilities nationwide.
The inclusion of the dangling net provides a different, yet equally passionate, glimpse at Valvano.
There’s an oft-told story about how he would give speeches for $50 at basketball camps in the 1970s. When the kids would greet him with the typical lack of enthusiasm, he’d work them into a frenzy, demanding a standing ovation and vowing to give the best speech of his life.
As Gary Smith wrote in Sports Illustrated in 1993:
The camp directors would look back again and see a couple of hundred kids on their feet, cheering wildly. Look back a few minutes later and see them crying. Look again and see them carrying Valvano from basket to basket to cut down the nets and chanting, “VEE! VEE! VEE!” And for the rest of those camps, the directors and counselors would have to peer in every direction each time they opened a door or walked down a path, because Vee had convinced a few hundred kids to leap from behind walls and bushes in front of them, to sacrifice their bodies like True Rats, to shuffle in front of the big-timers and take the charge!”
N.C. State started the NCAA’s practce of cutting down the nets in the 1940s, after coach Everett Case brought the tradition to Raleigh from his days in Indiana. Valvano famously kept it up in 1983, when his Cardiac Pack stunned Houston in the title game.
The Wolfpark play Connecticut on Tuesday.