I've been reading Those Guys Have All The Fun over the last week or so, and it's a pretty fascinating--and thorough, good lord is it thorough--account of ESPN's rise to prominence. Anyway, around the part where they discuss the origins of the ESPY Awards, there's some stuff on Jimmy V. Some of it is heartbreaking to read, but there's also some vintage V, like this anecdote from John Saunders:
Right after the first game we did together we went out for a drink. There was a bar next door and I didn't know if he was a party guy or whatever, but a bunch of people came along because that's what Jim was like, he'd walk around and people would just follow him, people would just light up.
So we go in and sit down at the bar and this very attractive girl and a biker kind of guy sitting next to her are talking and looking over at us. Finally the girl comes over and says, "You're Jim Valvano, aren't you?" He says, "Yes, I am." She said, "I think you're very, very cute and my boyfriend doesn't mind that I come over and talk to you." Mind you, this is his first day on the job! So he talks to her for a while, she goes back to her boyfriend, and then she comes back again and says, "My boyfriend said he wouldn't mind if I went home with you tonight." And Jim says, "That's very, very nice of him, and I appreciate that, but no, I'm going to have to pass." So she says, "Can I at least get your autograph?" She pulls down the top of her pants to reveal her underwear and say she wants Jim to sign it. So he looked over at me, took the pen, and in big letters wrote, DICK VITALE.