On Tuesday night, Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils made the trip up to Madison Square Gardens to face-off against Florida in the annual Jimmy V Classic, the annual event started in 1996 to honor the legacy of former NC State head basketball coach Jim Valvano.
Prior to Duke’s game, Coach K took some time, as he has done often throughout the past 20 or so years, to pay tribute to his late friend Jimmy V, and the relationship the two built over the last few months of Valvano’s life.
Despite being rivals on Tobacco Road for 10-years after both were hired by their respective schools in 1980, Valvano and Krzyzewski created a close bond while Valvano fought cancer at Duke Hospital.
When Valvano took the stage to deliver his now legendary and awe-inspiring speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards, it was Krzyzewski who was there to help Jimmy V up and down the stairs at the front of the stage.
Jimmy V went on to mention Coach K in that ESPY’s speech, saying, “I rode on the plane up today with Mike Krzyzewski, my good friend and a wonderful coach. People don’t realize he’s ten times a better person than he is a coach, and we know he’s a great coach. He’s meant a lot to me in these last five or six months with my battle.”