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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Cancer Battling Dick Vitale Calls Back to College Basketball Game – Deadline

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The two best teams in college basketball met tonight as No. 1 Gonzaga faced No. 2 UCLAbut the highlight of the night was legendary ESPN announcer Dick vitale calling the game back after fighting two separate forms of Cancer this year, with his last diagnosis last month.

Before the game, Vitale said that having clearance to run the contest was “the best medicine he could ask for,” and it was clear he meant it when he took the microphone in front of Dave O’Brien.

“It’s great to be here Dave,” said Vitale, who was visibly excited when O’Brien briefly introduced him. “I didn’t want to cry,” she continued, her voice cracking.

“I can’t believe I’m sitting here. This is really a great thrill for me. I want to thank all of you, you sent me so many great messages. ESPN, Jimmy Pitaro, all my friends from ESPN. I want to thank, without a doubt, my family and all the fans. Wow, you’ve been amazing. ”

Then he got serious.

“On October 12, I’ll be honest with you, when they came in and told me I had cancer, they thought it was bile duct cancer and it was really going to be serious surgery and all that,” said Vitale, who later learned instead, he had lymphoma that could be treated within six months, with a 90% success rate. He had undergone surgery to remove the melanoma a few weeks before receiving the news of the lymphoma.

“I never dreamed at 82 that I would be on the court again,” Vitale said tonight. “But being here again… sorry. I hope I don’t cause any problems, but I am very excited. “

Vitale, who named ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro in his comments, said the first college basketball game ESPN aired in 1980. For many, he has been the voice of college basketball ever since.

The former player and coach was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008, received a Lifetime Achievement Sports Emmy in 2019, and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

He has also appeared in several films, including The naked gun, He has game and love & basketball.

As for tonight’s matchup, Gonzaga defeated UCLA, 83-63.

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