By: Julio Olmo
As a sports enthusiast, I’ve been very fortunate to see and experience some great moments in sports history.
One of my favorites is going be honored on December 10th at the Madison Square Garden, in New York City.
The annual Jimmy V Basketball Classic.
Even children, who were not born at the time, have heard or seen videos of this iconic moment in sports history.
The upcoming NCAA Basketball Tournament has turned into such a spectacular show, nowadays covered by endless media platforms and it’s just impossible not to be aware of what’s going on during March Madness.
Now it’s my privilege to tell you exactly, how all of it has gotten to this point.
There are numerous coaches and basketball programs, which participate in the NCAA Tournament.
Lots of them also have more victories and titles, but as far as I am concern the true meaning behind the spirit of March Madness will always belong to Jim Valvano and his 1983 North Carolina State Wolfpack.
The Wolfpack had no chance to get in the 1983 NCAA Tournament unless they won the ACC Tournament outright, which would earn North Carolina State an automatic bid to March Madness.
They were a middle of the pack at best team – so what happened next, is the stuff which dreams are made of.
Not only did North Carolina State won the ACC Tournament, but also within a month’s time, after a magical stretch run, a video clip showing Valvano running up and down the court in disbelief after winning the 1983 NCAA championship and looking for someone to hug, made him the Avatar of March Madness.
Valvano, eventually lost his battle with cancer in 1993, just eight weeks after giving his legendary speech at the ESPY Awards, but not only has Jimmy V remained a March Madness icon, but his fighting spirit has become a symbol of courage and inspiration for many, many others.
The Jimmy V Classic and The V Foundation are testaments to the man’s fighting spirit.
“…Now I’m fighting cancer, everybody knows that. People ask me all the time about how you go through your life and how’s your day, and nothing is changed for me…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…Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up!”, Jim Valvano.
May you always rest in peace, Coach…They don’t make ’em like Jimmy V, anymore!