George Karl is 40 pounds lighter as he approached the podium and accepts the award. He was however still his jolly self and no trace of the struggle that he is facing. Karl will return to coach the Denver Nuggets in the 2010-2011 NBA Season.
Here is George Karl's Acceptance Speech at the 2010 ESPY Awards:
I’ve got through five months of treatment and I’m coming back, and I hope I can come back like Jimmy V came back, and even stronger. The word perseverance – there are a lot of great athletes out here who have to overcome injuries, overcome a tough year or a bad loss. I’ve sat in treatment rooms for about 40 days. The perseverance of some of the cancer patients that I’ve had the honor to befriend – it was incredible. I was not the strongest man in that room on many a days. I was not the toughest man on many days. There are many cancer survivors and patients that are intensely committed to defeating this nasty disease, as I am. There are many thousands of people who taught me that at one time, I thought I was a tough S.O.B., but there are a lot of tough S.O.B.’s out there, fighting this nasty disease that Jimmy Valvano, 17-18 years ago, brought to our attention.
When I think of Jimmy Valvano, I think of a spirited and passionate man, a man that had positive energy. And he was taken away from us. But the gift that he has given is this cancer research. Sometimes, I don’t think America is aware of cancer as much as they should be. I think right now there is great teamwork to conquer this disease, but we need a national program to cure cancer, to defeat this disease.
As someone who has gone through four bouts with cancer, there’s an individual challenge and then there’s the family challenge. You have to have your family support you, and I have an incredible family. My son Coby has gone through two bouts of thyroid surgery. The family is important. But it works a lot like a team. What we need with cancer, with the people like the Jimmy V Foundation is a partner, and the partner should be our national government. It should be a national government where every dollar raised tonight, every dollar raised by any national cancer society, every dollar raised should be matched by our federal government.
Jimmy V, with his sprit, his soulfulness and his passion – gave us a challenge. Let’s continue it by sometimes in our lifetime find cures for cancer, not only treatments.