Every college basketball fan, at some time, has gotten fed up with Dick Vitale. Whether it’s the endless enthusiasm or the wide open volume he tends to speak at or even the “Dukie V” tag he picked up (the truth is, Vitale enjoys whoever is doing well. Duke fans were thoroughly sick of “the General” and “Michelangelo” back in the day too). ESPN recognized the way Dickie V could irritate people when it had a Vitale soundalike contest with the tag line “because...we’ve all got a little dick in us.”
But beyond the irritation we all feel periodically - imagine being Mrs. Vitale (!) - no one really gets too upset with the man.
First of all, he’s clearly a good man. Before his own cases, he’s worked tirelessly to raise money for cancer research. After Len Bias died, he did some intensely emotional appearances before young kids to advise them of the dangers of drugs. If you were to ask Vitale for help with some charitable endeavor tonight, he'd probably help tomorrow.
And we don’t think anybody loves the game more than Vitale. He’s a broadcaster obviously but he’s a huge fan of the game and despite being in his ‘80s now, remains quite young at heart.
So when he returned to his job courtside for Gonzaga-UCLA Tuesday night, it’s no surprise the man wept. He said he wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to work a game again.
We could be wrong but we’re guessing he wasn’t the only one with tears in his eyes.