ESPN to Debut Documentary on Jim Valvano’s Iconic ESPYS Speech During ESPYS Week

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ESPN to Debut Documentary on Jim Valvano’s Iconic ESPYS Speech During ESPYS Week

Valvano’s “Don’t Give Up. Don’t Ever Give Up” speech continues to resonate 30 years later

As part of this year’s ESPYS Week, ESPN will debut “THE SPEECH,” a new one-hour SC Featured documentary that examines the extraordinary circumstances that led to one of the most impactful speeches ever given — former basketball coach and ESPN analyst Jim Valvano’s “Don’t Give Up. Don’t Ever Give Up,” speech at the first ESPYS Awards in March 1993 inside Madison Square Garden’s Paramount Theatre.

The SC Featured will air Wednesday, July 12 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN ahead of The ESPYS, and again, on Saturday, July 15 at 2 p.m. ET on ABC. The documentary also will be on ESPN+ immediately after airing July 12.

The film, directed and produced by Murrow Award winner Michael O’Connor, shares the details of Valvano’s life that became encapsulated in one incredible moment of determination as his health failed, to deliver his message to the world and launch a foundation that continues working to achieve his final dream — find a cure for cancer.

Featured interviews include former Duke University men’s basketball coach Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, members of the Valvano family, Dr. Joseph O. Moore (Jim’s oncologist), 1993 ESPYS Director Steve Binder, and many more. Full list below.

THE SPEECH Interviews:

  • Pam Valvano Strasser – Jim’s wife
  • Bob Valvano – Jim’s brother
  • Nick Valvano – Jim’s brother
  • Jamie Valvano – Jim’s daughter
  • Dereck Whittenburg – Member of Jim’s 1983 National Championship team
  • Bob Lloyd – Jim’s teammate at Rutgers University /  former chairman of the V Foundation
  • Steve Binder – 1993 ESPYS Director
  • Dr. Joseph O. Moore – Jim’s oncologist
  • Mike Krzyzewski – Duke Men’s Basketball Coach 1980-2022 / Jim’s close friend
  • Joe Theismann – NFL Quarterback 1974-1985 / in the audience at the first ESPYs 
  • Robin Roberts – Co-anchor, Good Morning America / ESPN Anchor 1990-2005 / 1993 ESPYS presenter
  • Chris Berman – ESPN Anchor / in the audience at the first ESPYS
  • Chris LaPlaca – ESPN Sr. VP Corporate Communications
  • Dick Vitale – ESPN Basketball Analyst / Jim’s close friend
  • Dr. Charles R. Rogers – V Foundation – Funded Researcher
  • George Bodenheimer – ESPN President, 1998-2012 / V Foundation Board Member
  • Steve Bornstein – ESPN President & CEO 1990-1999
  • John Lack – ESPN Executive VP Marketing and Programming 1992-1995
  • John Walsh – ESPN Executive Vice President 1990-2015
  • Rosa Gatti – ESPN Sr. VP Corporate Communications 1988-2013
  • Vince Doria – ESPN Sr. VP & Director of News 1992-2015

To date, ESPN has helped the V Foundation raise more than $195 million for game-changing cancer research, accounting for more than half of the $310 million the V has granted to date. For more on how to donate, go to

John R. Manzo

Based in New York City, John Manzo is a Communications Manager for ESPN with a focus on ESPN BET, sports betting, consumer marketing and corporate citizenship. He is a Michigan native, Detroit sports fan and proud Central Michigan University graduate.
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