Legendary college hoops sportscaster Dick Vitale returned to the ESPN broadcast table on Tuesday, and it was awesome, baby.
Vitale was very emotional in the moment, and if your tears do not follow his, consult a doctor.
“I didn’t wanna cry. I can’t believe I’m sitting here,” Vitale said through tears. “This is really a big thrill for me. I want to thank all you people. There have been so many great messages. ESPN, Jimmy Pitaro, all of my buddies at ESPN. I want to thank, surely, my family and all the fans.”
Vitale was diagnosed with melanoma last August. A few months later, doctors found lymphoma.
“I never dreamt at 82 that I would be at court side again,” he continued. “But to be here today — I’m sorry, I hope I don’t cause a problem out there, but I’m just a little emotional.”
“Don’t apologize for anything,” his play-by-play partner Dave O’Bryan — and all of us watching — said.
“The game is the big thing,” Vitale said. “So let’s get this game going and talk a little basketball.”
Honestly, Dickie, no it’s not. You’re the big thing today — and do not apologize for that ever again.
Watch the video of Vitale’s sweet return at the bottom of this story, and then play it for your family on Thanksgiving.
Since it’s what Vitale would want, we’ll talk a little basketball here as well.
The Good Sam Empire Classic was a huge game, though not a competitive one. Vitale returned just in time to call No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 2 UCLA. The bulldogs crushed the Bruins by 20, 83-63. That blowout was already the margin by halftime, so this one was never in doubt for the Zags.
In other words, it was nothing like April’s instant-classic Final Four game between the same two teams, which was decided by Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs’ buzzer-beater in overtime.