As Dick Vitale enters his 35th year of broadcasting college basketball at ESPN, the network wanted to give him a special gift commemorating the occasion.
ESPN personalities from Stuart Scott, to Jay Bilas, to Bruce Pearl all did impersonations of Vitale as part of a video the network released Tuesday. The anecdotes from broadcast partners Dan Shulman and Sean McDonough are excellent too, as is Bob Knight reflecting on Vitale's importance to college basketball's growth.
Vitale's boundless energy and enthusiasm in the early years of televised college basketball helped grow the sport's audience. ESPN last week released video of the opening of the opening segment of Vitale's first broadcast on Dec. 5, 1979, a clip highlighted by the incredulous look on broadcast partner Joe Boyle's face as Vitale talks for almost two straight minutes without a pause.
Vitale is now 74 years old, but don't expect him to retire anytime soon. He told SI.com this week that he intends to emulate legendary Dodgers play-by-play man Vin Scully and keep calling college basketball games well into his 80s.
"I know in my heart that if I cannot deliver what I want to deliver, knowing the players and teams and the memory retention, I will go," Vitale said. "But I told Dan Shulman that I want 50 years at ESPN. How old is Scully? 86? Well, if I go 16 more, that would get me there. He's my idol, my dream and goal. I want to get to where he is."