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ESPN’s Dick Vitale gets emotional in return to broadcasting after cancer diagnosis

Dick Vitale was back courtside.

The ESPN broadcaster was on the call for the college basketball game between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA on Tuesday night and got emotional with his partner Dave O’Brien right next to him.


Commentator Dick Vitale looks on before action between the Boston Celtics and the LA Clippers at TD Garden on February 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

« I can’t believe I’m sitting here, » Vitale said fighting back tears. « This is really a big thrill for me. I want to thank all who sent me so many great messages, [ESPN president] Jimmy Pitaro, all my buddies at ESPN. I want to thank, certainly, my family and all the fans. My, you have been unbelievable. »

Before tip-off, Vitale sent out a tweet to his fans.

« To ALL of u in any battle ‘Don’t believe in can’t’! » Vitale wrote.

Back in mid-October, Vitale revealed that he has been diagnosed with lymphoma after he had multiple surgeries over the summer for melanoma.

ESPN’s Dick Vitale gets emotional in return to broadcasting after cancer diagnosis

ESPN commentator Dick Vitale is seen before the Kentucky Wildcats and LSU Tigers game at Rupp Arena on February 12, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky.
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Vitale said that he considered himself « very lucky » throughout the entire process.


Vitale, who is 82 years old, previously said that he planned on treating the lymphoma with steroids and six months of chemotherapy. He added that the medical experts said that it has a 90% cure rate. Vitale had said that he planned on continuing to work despite the diagnosis, but he managed his work schedule around his chemotherapy.

« I am lucky and blessed to have a great team of medical experts, along with wonderful family support. I am also blessed to work with so many in my second family, ESPN. They have been so encouraging over the past three weeks as I’ve undergone one test after another in trying to analyze what was causing my symptoms, » Vitale said.

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