Ray Romano to Play Heroic College Hoops Coach Jim Valvano in Biopic – Deadline

Ray Romano to Play Heroic College Hoops Coach Jim Valvano in Biopic – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Ray Romano will star in and produce a new film about the extraordinary life of American basketball coach and broadcaster Jim Valvano.

The screenplay will be written by Jim Strouse, whose credits include grace is gone and The winning season. Romano will produce with Basil Iwanyk, Greg Economou and Mark Ciardi of game1 (The recruit). The Valvano family will provide key resources for the film, as executive producers.

Jimmy V’s life is the ultimate underdog story, sprinkled with courage and optimism in the face of long hardships. It begins with Valvano’s meteoric rise as a coach, including his incredible 1983 NCAA Championship run with the North Carolina State Wolfpack. The team earned a last-second victory over a heavily favored Houston Cougars team that had all-time NBA greats Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler on their roster.

Valvano’s optimism never wavered, even when he was tragically diagnosed with cancer. His courageous response to the fate inflicted on him was personified by his inspirational “never give up” speech at the 1993 Espy Awards when he was terminally ill. Not only was there no dry eye in the house, but the momentum almost single-handedly inspired a movement in the fight against the disease. He helped launch the V Foundation, which has raised over $300 million as one of the top supporters of cancer research in the United States. Valvano died in 1993.

“We couldn’t be more excited to finally tell my dad’s story in feature film form, especially with Ray Romano and game1 as partners,” said Jamie Valvano, the second daughter of Jim and Pam Valvano. “We had a front row seat to one of the greatest stories of all time, and we’re thrilled to share it with the world as well.”

Iwanyk, co-CEO of Game1, said, “Jimmy V was not just one of the great college basketball coaches of this generation, but one of the most inspiring and impactful figures in the world in in terms of efforts to eradicate cancer. Ray is the perfect choice to not only help produce this film, but also to play Jimmy V.”

Says Romano: “Jim Valvano has always been an inspiration to me. I look forward to working with the Game1 team as well as the Valvano family to bring Jim’s incredible story and legacy to the screen.

Here is Jimmy V’s speech:

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