Watch: Dick Vitale, a basketball legend and former Rutgers assistant, gives moving speech at the ESPYS

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Former Rutgers basketball assistant Dick Vitale was among the most poignant moments in Thursday night’s ESPYS awards. The famed voice of college basketball was honored by the worldwide leader in sports for his contributions to the game, both on and off the court.

Vitale was presented with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. Vitale has been battling lymphoma over the past year.

In April, Vitale declared that he is cancer-free.

Perhaps few, if any, have left the kind of mark on college basketball as Vitale. As a head coach, he took lowly Detroit to the NCAA Tournament and a run to the Sweet 16 in the 1976-77 season before becoming a head coach in the NBA. As an analyst, his voice has been the quintessential sound of college basketball, bounding with exuberance.

Vitale was a perfect voice for ESPN when he joined the network in 1979. He had the ability to break down games and analyze while adding a genuine energy to the the sport.

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His calls helped turn college basketball from a regional sport into one of the big movers and shakers in the present sports world.

Wednesday’s honor was moving for Vitale. The award’s namesake, Jim Valvano, was a longtime friend of Vitale. In 1993, Valvano passed away from cancer, leaving behind an impressive legacy in the V Foundation, which has raised millions for cancer research.

In 1971, Vitale was named as an assistant Rutgers where he spent two seasons before taking over what was a very successful tenure coaching Detroit in the college ranks.

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He was also an assistant coach in New Jersey prior to his time at Rutgers. Valvano got his start as an assistant coach in Garfield before becoming a head coach at East Rutherford.

Vitale has been a vocal fan of Rutgers and the rebuilding job done by Steve Pikiell over the past two years.