He’s a college basketball icon and one of the most memorable broadcasters of all-time. And his return to the broadcast table, in the midst of his battle with cancer, was a highly emotional moment on ESPN. Dick Vitale returned to the network to broadcast the major game between UCLA and Gonzaga.
The 82-year-old Vitale announced last month that he had lymphoma and was undergoing intense chemo treatments. He was very emotional in his return to the job he’s had for so long.
“I didn’t want to cry,” he said, choking back tears at the start of the game. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here. This is really a big thrill for me.”
When told I had cancer at 82 on Oct 12 I thought my days behind the mic were over .I am thrilled to be joining Dave O’Brien on the call of GONZAGA VS UCLA ! 10 pm EST on @espn https://t.co/FtG6biJHei
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) November 23, 2021
Vitale has been with ESPN for almost the entire 40+ year history of the channel. He’s broadcasted hundreds of games. His importance to the sport cannot be underestimated. And fans were THRILLED to see him back behind the mic.
Young Gonzaga and UCLA basketball fans show off “Dickie V” and “Never Give Up” jerseys for Dick Vitale.
“Get me their addresses! I’ll mail ’em something! I wanna mail ’em a gift!” pic.twitter.com/7Uk1ZWlWdb
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) November 24, 2021
He was gifted jerseys from both schools, one that said “Dickie V” on the back and one that said “Never Give Up” on the back. Before the game, he shared a message on social media, “To ALL of u in any battle ‘Don’t believe in can’t!”