Another American sports legend is getting their story made into an on-screen production. Deadline reports that coach and broadcaster, Jim Valvano will be the subject of an upcoming, unnamed film. He’ll be played by none other than Ray Romano, who will also serve as a producer. Known for his light-hearted nature and eternally optimistic outlook on life, Valvano will be expertly portrayed by the comedic actor.
Beginning his career in the sport as a hoopster himself, Valvano attended Rutgers University and drove his fellow teammates to take home third place in 1967’s National Invitation Tournament. Following college, Valvano took on the life of a coach and is most notably known for his role in bringing the North Carolina State Wolfpack to the 1983 NCAA Championship where they dealt a crushing blow to that year’s top dogs, the Houston Cougars, and took home the title.
Following his time on the court, he would move behind the cameras to become a commentator for ESPN and ABC Sports. While he inspired a multitude of lives as a coach, his life following his career may be what made Valvano even more legendary. After receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis, the coach would inspire others with his attitude and hope. During the 1993 Espy Awards, he gave the now famous, “never give up” speech. Recited to a packed house, none of the attendees were unmoved by Valvano’s words. Shortly after his appearance at the Espy’s, Valvano would succumb to his disease, but because of his strength and courage, the V Foundation was founded which has raised over $300 million to date to aid in cancer research.
Known for writing heartfelt sports dramas, Jim Strouse (The Winning Season) will pen the project which will be receiving story help from the Valvano family, who will join as executive producers. Basil Iwanyk, Greg Economou, and Mark Ciardi will produce under the game1 banner alongside Romano.
In a statement released with the film’s reveal, Jamie Valvano, Jim and Pam Valvano’s middle daughter commented that the family “couldn’t be more excited” to get the legendary coach’s story out there and in movie form. She calls her father’s life “one of the greatest stories of all time” and shares that she’s looking forward to pairing up with Romano and game1 to bring it to audiences everywhere.
Along with his funny-guy background, Romano has nabbed roles in drama projects including The Irishman and his own Men of a Certain Age, which makes him doubly perfect for the part of Valvano. Imagining the actor giving the “never give up” speech is already bringing tears to our eyes, and we can’t wait to see it take shape.
As of right now, no release date has yet been set for this deep dive and celebration into the life of one of basketball’s most determined and inspirational personalities.