Happy birthday to Jim Valvano, who should have turned 73 today.
Instead his life was ended by cancer at age 47.
He led North Carolina State to an N.C.A.A. college basketball championship when he was 37. Any sports fan alive then remembers him running up down the court after the game, hugging everyone in sight, and celebrating with the truest joy ever seen.
In 1993, just two months before his death he spoke at the first ever ESPY awards and delivered one of the greatest speeches of all time.
In it he said, “to me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
They tried to get him off the stage, and the teleprompter repeatedly flashed “30 seconds…..30 seconds.”
He responded, “They got that screen up there flashing 30 seconds, like I care about that screen. I got tumors all over my body and I’m worried about some guy in the back going 30 seconds.”
He later concluded with “Cancer can 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 are going to carry on forever. I thank you and God bless you all.”
In his honor, Jimmy V foundation has raised over $240 million since, all going to Cancer research. Many people have gotten second and third chances at life because of it.
Long live Jimmy V.
Here is a link to his speech at the Espys:
Follow the unfinished pyramid on twitter at: