December 22, 2008
Dick Vitale never got a chance to call one of Kobe Bryant's games. The high school phenom declared for the NBA and missed the opportunity to be called a PTPer for a few years in college. As I found out on Saturday night though, Kobe wouldn't mind having Dickie V around during a Lakers' game once in a while.
As you may have heard already, Vitale, and his partner Dan Shulman, will be covering the Heat-Nuggets game on January 7th while regular NBA announcers Mike Tirico, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson will be covering the Davidson-Duke game on the same night.
"Would it even make a difference?" I said.
A big smile started to spread across his face before he could answer the question. "Well yeah," Kobe said. "It'd be awesome, BABY!"
Like Bryant, I actually think the Dickie V/NBA switch-a-roo is a good one, at least for one night. Vitale is already familiar with most players in the league, because he has covered a majority of them during their college careers.
It's not as if he hasn't seen these guys play. He used to broadcast pro games back in the 80s and he coached the Pistons for a short time before his television career took off.
His presence also gives the regular season game an added boost, and for players like Bryant, who never got to have the college experience, Vitale's appearance at a game means a little more.
My hope is that ESPN continues to have Dickie V do a couple NBA games each year. If they're smart, they'll put him on next year's schedule ... Vitale obviously has a big fan in Los Angeles.