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ESPYS Music Director John Colby recalls Jim Valvano’s 1993 speech

When The 2013 ESPYS Presented by Capital One unfold tonight in Los Angeles (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET), John Colby will be in his customary position as the musical director of the event.
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The composer of the SportsCenter theme was among the thousands in Madison Square Garden on March 4, 1993, when former basketball coach and ESPN analyst Jim Valvano was awarded the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the first annual ESPY Awards. In the video above Colby recalls, in great detail, the moving atmosphere surrounding Valvano’s “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up” acceptance speech.

Valvano, battling cancer, had to be assisted to the stage. Then, he somehow became energized by the moment.

“[We were] looking at this man not knowing whether he was going to be able to stand, much less speak,” Colby said. “He got up at the podium, and it was as if someone sprinkled fairy dust on him. He became alive, animated.

“All of the sudden, if you were just dropping in on him at that moment, you would have no idea that he was sick, at all.”

John Colby video produced by Rich Arden