Jim Valvano’s Rutgers roots

PISCATAWAY – Inside of Rutgers’ locker room, on the wall separating the lockers from the film viewing area, there’s a mural. It’s a dedication to Rutgers’ own Jim Valvano, depicting and chronicling the annals of his basketball life.

From left to right are black and white pictures of his days playing at Rutgers, being carried off the court by his NC State team after pulling off one of the greatest upsets in NCAA finals history by defeating Houston, culminating in Valvano delivering his renowned speech during the 1993 ESPY’s where he accepted the Arthur Ashe Award. And of course, those seven immortal words, “don’t give up, don’t ever give up,” are written across this poignant memorial.

While the players see this façade on a daily basis, the kids just born around the time of Valvano’s death don’t know who this man was. All they recall is the image of him shown by CBS every March. The one of the guy who was running around after winning an NCAA championship not knowing who to hug.

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