The Blue Devils will take on their third ranked opponent of the year in No. 21 Florida Tuesday at 9 p.m. at Madison Square Garden, but Tuesday's contest is about much more than basketball.
The game is part of the annual Jimmy V Classic to raise money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research and honors late N.C. State head coach Jim Valvano. Valvano's inspirational story after leading the Wolfpack to the 1983 national championship and being diagnosed with cancer in 1992 has been well-documented, as Valvano gave his memorable "Don't ever give up" speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski became close friends with Valvano that year as Valvano underwent treatment at Duke Hospital and published a touching letter to his late friend through Dear World ahead of Tuesday's game. Valvano died in 1993.
The letter can be viewed below:
You and I became brothers during the last four or five months of your life. You knew that you were dying of cancer. You were in Duke Hospital and we spent a few nights every week together.
We had many moments.
The very best moment though was when you said,
“I’m gonna die, but I’m gonna win.”
I asked you, “What do you mean?”
And you said, “I want to beat cancer. After I die, when we’ve finally beat cancer I want to be there."
I was with you when you died. And I never looked at our relationship as having a last moment. I always looked forward to the next moment.
I don’t remember the last thing I said to you, Jimmy.
And the reason I don’t is because I thought you would live forever.
Love your friend,
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