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Dick Vitale Announces A Third Bout With Cancer

On the bright side, his doctors are pretty optimistic

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Champions Classic - Kentucky v Michigan State
 INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 15: ESPN analyst Dick Vitale calls the game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Michigan State Spartans during the Champions Classic at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on November 15, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

ESPN’s Dick Vitale has built up immense goodwill with TV audiences for a few basic reasons: 1) he’s quite young at heart and connects with younger people amazingly well; 2) his enthusiasm for the game is off the charts and 3) he has always done vast amounts of good works. When Len Bias died of an overdose in 1986, Vitale threw himself heart and soul into telling young people to stay the hell away from drugs. He spoke with passion. He pleaded and cried. He was 100 percent serious about it and we’d guess some of the kids probably listened and did, in fact stay away from drugs. So among his many accomplishments, Vitale has almost certainly saved some lives.

He’s also done immense good work for the Jimmy V Foundation after Jim Valvano died of cancer in 1993.

We don’t mean he wrote checks. Vitale has been a tireless fighter against cancer for a very long time now. If anyone asks him for help, he doesn’t just show up. He’s raised millions of dollars and arguably done more to fight cancer than anyone not on the medical and scientific front lines.

Which made it really hard to read that Dicky V has cancer again.

Vitale won two beautiful fights against cancer, beating lymphoma and melanoma, and not all that long ago. He also has had a tough time with his voice recently and given his profession, and his garrulous, extroverted nature, that has to have been tough.

So it’s a double blow that his latest cancer affects his vocal cords.

There is no surgery scheduled - his doctors plan to treat it via radiation - but that’s no day at the beach either.

Given what we know about the man, gifted with an indomitable spirit and immense heart, we won’t be surprised if he beats it again. In fact, he plans to be back at work in the fall.

His doctors are optimistic too, which is great.

Still, Vitale is 84 now and he’s had several serious health challenges in recent years. The end is much closer than the beginning and sooner or later, we’ll have to go on without him. But whenever he does leave us, he’ll leave behind a game and country that is better for his having been here for us for so long. Let’s hope this good man has some good years left and that he can share as many as possible with all his many friends in the basketball world and, maybe, just maybe, he can live long enough to see his dream pay off and cancer vanquished.

Until that time arrives, even in such fractious times, we can all agree on this: f**k cancer. It has to go.