ESPN's Dick Vitale done for season amid cancer, vocal cord treatments: 'I'm heartbroken'

Dick Vitale is done for the season.

Vitale, who was diagnosed with lymphoma and vocal cord dysplasia last year, announced on Monday he needs to continue to rest his voice and will not call any more college basketball games this season on ESPN.

Vitale said he has reduced the inflammation in his vocal cords by 60 percent, though he said he will still need surgery in the near future.

“My throat’s condition is clearly moving in the right direction, and [my doctor] is very optimistic that this can be successfully treated to have me strong for the 2022-23 season on ESPN,” Vitale wrote in a post on Monday.

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Though the surgery is a setback, Vitale said the issue is completely separate from his cancer treatments.

“I’m happy to report that according to my doctors, my ongoing chemo for Lymphoma continues to progress positively as well,” he wrote. “I’ve seen what cancer can do. I feel so lucky.”

Dick Vitale diagnosed with cancer in October

The longtime ESPN college basketball announcer revealed in October he had lymphoma, which marked his second cancer diagnosis in three months. The 82-year-old started treatment and chemotherapy and missed the start of the season, but he did make a tearful, emotional return for a game between then-No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA in November.


Vitale then said late last month he had been diagnosed with pre-cancerous dysplasia on his vocal cords, and he needed to rest.

Vitale has been with ESPN almost since the network was founded, and he called the very first college basketball season the network aired. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

“You know I am an eternal optimist who acts like he’s a teenager,” Vitale wrote on Monday. “Yet there is no doubt these past five months have been emotionally and physically frustrating. I am so appreciative of the love and care demonstrated by the incredible members of the medical community. And I will be forever grateful for the calls, texts, and social media expressions of encouragement from friends, colleagues, fans, media and members of my ESPN family. I love people, and I’m honored to receive such overwhelming support.

“I will continue to provide updates as I go along, and I am firm in my belief that I will win this battle and be back doing what I love — calling games at courtside next season. In the meantime, I will enjoy all the great games from my living room and savor the love of my marvelous family. Thank you all.”

ESPN color analyst Dick Vitale
Dick Vitale was diagnosed with cancer in October, his second such diagnosis in three months. (Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images)