Ray Romano Says He Tried to Get Jim Valvano Biopic Made 10 Years Ago, It Might Happen Now

Ray Romano has spent the last few decades acting in various projects and performing standup across the country. While the comedian seems to have done almost everything, there is one role that he still wants to play. He’s going to get the chance. Romano sat down for an interview and revealed that he’s excited about the prospect of playing famed college basketball coach Jim Valvano. Apparently, he has been trying to get the biopic made for years. 

Who is Jim Valvano? 

Valvano became a household name after exuberantly celebrating his team’s unbelievable win in 1983. His team, the NC State Wolfpack, came back to beat the heavily favored Houston Cougars. 

Jim Valvano poses at Duke Univeristy in 1993 in Durham, North Carolina
Jim Valvano | Ronald C. Modra/ Getty Images

Valvano served as an athletic director and basketball coach through 1990, when he was accused of violating NCAA rules and regulations. While Valvano was later cleared of wrongdoing, he was still forced to resign. He wrote about the experience in his 1991 autobiography,  Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract and Then They Declared Me Dead

Valvano is also remembered for a 1993 ESPY speech. The famed basketball coach implored the audience to laugh, cry and think every single day. During the speech, he announced the formation of a charity 

dedicated to cancer research. Valvano gave the speech in March of 1993. He died in late April of the same year from adenocarcinoma. Valvano had been diagnosed with the aggressive and advanced cancer in 1992. 

Ray Romano tried to get Jim Valvano biopic made 10 years ago 

Valvano’s legacy is a huge one, and it’s one Ray Romano thinks should be made into a biopic. The movie idea isn’t a new idea for Romano, either. During an interview with Barstool Sports, the famed comedian said that he’s been trying to get the movie made for about 10 years. 

Ray Romano attends the Premiere of Netflix's "The Irishman" at TCL Chinese Theatre on October 24, 2019
Ray Romano | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Romano said he feels a connection to Valvano because he grew up in Queens, too. Romano was born and raised in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens. Valvano was born in the Corona neighborhood of Queens but grew up in Seaford. Seaford is a small town on the South Shore of Long Island. 

It might finally be happening 

Romano might not have had any tackers on the project originally, but reportedly it is in the works now. The Everybody Loves Raymond star revealed that someone is currently working on a script. Game1 is producing the flick. Romano is set to star as Jim Valvano. 


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The Valvano family is also heavily involved in the production. Jamie Valvano, the elder Valvano’s daughter, spoke to Deadline in May after the project was announced. She said, “We couldn’t be more excited to finally tell my father’s story in the form of a feature film, especially with Ray Romano and game1 as partners.” The family will serve as executive producers. 

There is no set release date for the movie. There isn’t a production start date either. If the movie comes out in 2023, it will be the 40th anniversary of Valvano leading his team to an improbable win over Houston. Frankly, it seems only fitting that the flick would drop around that time. Fans will just need to wait for an official release date announcement. For now, Romano isn’t making any promises.