At 84, ESPN broadcaster from New Jersey, Dick Vitale, fights cancer for the 3rd time
He was born in Passaic, New Jersey, went to high school in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and he has been entertaining and informing millions of college basketball fans for over 41 years on ESPN.
He’s Dick Vitale, “Dickie V’, the legendary broadcaster who has a talent for keeping up with the changes in the game of basketball and the ability to transcend the acceptance of the current college student culture. Dick Vitale is a pure Jersey guy, attending grade school, high school, and college at Seton Hall University all here in New Jersey.
After college, he coached high school basketball in Garfield, New Jersey, then went back to his alma mater in East Rutherford and then got a break as an assistant coach at Rutgers. He went to be the head coach of the University of Detroit, getting them into the NCAA tournament and making it to the next round of 32, the first time in the history of the school.
He went on to be named head coach of the NBA Detroit Pistons eventually leaving the Pistons to end up at a new ESPN and their college basketball coverage. He became and remained a basketball legend.
He is 84 years old and has never stopped fighting. Dick Vitale has gone through three cancer diagnoses and treatments fighting melanoma and lymphoma then after treatment diagnosed as cancer free. Now he must fight his third cancer diagnosis. This past Wednesday, July 15, Dick Vitale was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer and will undergo six weeks of radiation. His fight continues one more time.
In 2019, ESPN awarded Dick a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2022, Dick Vitale was awarded The Jimmy V Award for Perseverance which according to ESPN s awarded as part of the ESPY Awards to "a deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination." The award was named for former North Carolina State head basketball coach and good friend Jimmy Valvano who fought and lost his battle with cancer but not before delivering a speech at the ESPY Awards that has been touted as one of the most inspirational speeches ever delivered by a sports figure.
Part of the legendary speech that Jimmy Valvano gave was “don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” Dick Vitale never gave up, he never ever gave up. Stay strong Dickie V!
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.