30 for 30 (2009– )
6 user 3 critic

Survive and Advance 

Follows the life of Valvano. It includes reflections by some players many years later.


Jonathan Hock




Episode credited cast:
Benny Anders Benny Anders ... Himself (archive footage)
Red Auerbach Red Auerbach ... Himself (archive footage)
Thurl Bailey Thurl Bailey ... Himself
Lorenzo Charles Lorenzo Charles ... Himself (archive footage)
Stu Coman Stu Coman ... Himself - Wolfpacker Publisher
Dave Didion Dave Didion ... Himself - NCAA Investigator
Clyde Drexler ... Himself (archive footage)
Charles 'Lefty' Driesell Charles 'Lefty' Driesell ... Himself
Patrick Ewing ... Himself (archive footage)
Terry Gannon Terry Gannon ... Himself
Reid Gettys Reid Gettys ... Himself
Sidney Green Sidney Green ... Himself (archive footage)
Jim Harrick Jim Harrick ... Himself - Coach
Lou Holtz Lou Holtz ... Himself (archive footage)
Michael Jordan ... Himself (archive footage)


In 1983, the NC State Wolfpack, coached by Jim Valvano, stayed alive in the post-season through a series of nine overtime and one point games, beating the likes of Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins. The unlikely squad made it to the national championship game against #1 Houston, aka Phi Slamma Jama, a team featuring future NBA Top 50 all-time players Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. NC State was one of the biggest underdogs ever in the final game, one that went down as possibly the best college basketball game in history - ending with one of the most well-known plays of all time. Written by ESPN Films

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Release Date:

17 March 2013 (USA) See more »

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ESPN Films See more »
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Features SportsCenter (1979) See more »

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One of the Best Episodes Yet
17 March 2013 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

30 for 30: Survive and Advance (2013)

**** (out of 4)

The new year brings another installment to the ESPN series and it's one of the best yet. SURVIVE AND ADVANCE follows the path of the 1983 North Carolina State basketball team as they did the impossible by reaching the tournament that year but the bigger shock was to follow when they managed to win it. While this story is being told we also get to hear about their basketball coach Jimmy Valvano and his battle with cancer, which would take his life ten-years after winning the championship. I think anyone with even a limited amount of knowledge knows this story but what's so incredibly is how much director Jonathan Hock makes you feel not only for Valvano but also the nervous tension of the tournament. Everyone knows that NC State won yet you really do feel the pressure of watching this team come from behind one game after another and you get to see why Houston was such a force and favorite in that final game. Along the way we hear from the surviving members of the team as they talk about what was happening throughout this period but we also get to hear from members of the other teams as well as coaches like Mike Krzyzewski. The documentary also offers up a speaking engagement that Valvano himself would give later in life so that we can hear some of his feelings on the events. This is certainly one of the best episodes in a terrific series because there's just so much emotion going on here. It's great because people know NC State won the championship but we get to see some of the other games that aren't often discussed. We also get to see what Valvano would be most happy about and that's how his now legendary speech manages to live today as well as still earn money for cancer research. The scenes of him slowly dying are certainly hard to watch as is the pain that his players still feel to this day but at the same time you have to see this guy in a completely different way. It doesn't really matter if you know the story of that 1983 team or if you know about the speech, this is still an incredibly powerful and uplifting film.

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