Not Awesome, Baby | ESPN’s Dick Vitale Has Vocal Cord Cancer But Hopes To Beat It And Be Back Calling Games This Season

Longtime ESPN college basketball analyst and broadcaster Dick Vitale has announced that he has vocal cord cancer. This is the 84-year-old New Jersey native’s third cancer diagnosis. He has previously been treated for melanoma and lymphoma.

“I plan to fight like hell to be ready to call games when the college hoops season kicks off in the fall,” Vitale tweeted, adding that his doctor “feels that scenario is entirely possible.”

Third Cancer Diagnosis

Vitale had surgery in Boston this week, and tests revealed that he has vocal cord cancer. He said he will undergo six weeks of radiation treatments.

In strange timing, Vitale’s diagnosis came on the same days as the ESPYs, where in 1993 he helped his dear friend, the late college basketball coach Jim Valvano, to the stage where he delivered his iconic and inspiring “Don’t give up” speech.

He has been a frontline cancer research fundraiser and advocate. Vitale received the Jimmy V award at the ESPYs in 2022.

In 2021, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, months after he had multiple surgeries to remove melanoma. He documented his journey on social media, posting photos of doctor visits and hospital stays while issuing motivational tips recorded before he was put on voice rest. Just last year he announced that he was cancer-free.

Legendary Broadcast Career

Vitale’s tenure dates back to the beginning days of the worldwide leader in 1979, and he was on the call for the network’s first college basketball game.

He’s been on the call for great games over the years.

From 1979-2015 he covered every Duke-UNC game televised by ESPN. His critics gave him the nickname Dookie Vitale for his pro-Duke commentary in one of the storied rivalries in all of college hoops.

Vitale’s known for his unbridled passion for the game and catchphrases like “He’s a PTPer!” “The three S man, super, scintillating, sensational,” and “He’s a diaper dandy!”

Vitale would often spout his gratefulness in being so lucky that he got to call college basketball games for a living, saying he’s never “worked a day in his life.”

“I learned from my mom and dad, who didn’t have a formal education but had doctorates of love,” Vitale once said. “They told me that if you gave 110 percent all the time, a lot of beautiful things will happen. I may not always be right, but no one can ever accuse me of not having a genuine love and passion for whatever I do.”

That’s been his truth, and he hopeS his time calling games won’t be up just yet.

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