For the first time this season, amid his battle with lymphoma, longtime ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitale will be on the call on Tuesday night.
Vitale was cleared by his doctors to call Tuesday’s marquee matchup between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA in Las Vegas, part of the Good Sam Empire Classic.
“My family and I are absolutely jumping with joy,” Vitale said in a statement. “Knowing I’ll be courtside with all my buddies and calling number 1 versus 2, this is the best medicine I could ask for.”
I am so THANKFUL for all the🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️❤️ that gave me such an emotional & mental lift . Being at court side is the BEST medicine I can receive . Return of The PTPer: Dick Vitale Gets His Doctor's OK To Start His 43rd Season at ESPN - ESPN Front Row https://t.co/gEPHwO9M3u
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) November 18, 2021
Vitale announced last month that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, which marked his second cancer diagnosis in about three months. The iconic college basketball announcer had surgery to remove melanoma in August.
The 82-year-old said his lymphoma treatment will consist of steroids and six months of chemotherapy. He planned to continue working this season around his chemo schedule, but hasn’t been able to do so yet.
Tuesday, with a game between the top-ranked teams in the country, sounds like the perfect opportunity for Vitale to do so.
“To all of you, I simply say thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and messages, phone calls and texts,” Vitale said in a statement.
“They gave me energy and lifted me up at a time that is not fun city — chemo for six months. To my ESPN family, starting with Jimmy Pitaro — I love you all. I’m so proud to start my 43rd year on Tuesday. Lastly, to the fans — you have given me a career that has exceeded any dream I’ve ever had.”