Dick Vitale: 35 for 35.
Dick Vitale just celebrated 35 years with ESPN, and the sports network, in commemoration of that on-the-air milestone, produced the above video featuring 35 of his colleagues attempting the Dickie V impersonation.
Fan-favorite Vitale, whose signature catchphrases include “Awesome Baby!,” called his first game for ESPN on December 5, 1979 (Wisconsin v. DePaul — see video below in which he was somewhat more subdued than today’s Dickie V). To date, he has broadcast more than 1,000 hoops games on the network. According to CBS Sports, “Vitale… remains a polarizing figure because of his antics and excitement he relentlessly brings to every broadcast. But he’s also become just as known for his charity work, spearheading the Jimmy V Foundation and its goal, to eliminate cancer.”
A New Jersey native, Vitale, 74, lives in Sarasota, Florida. He is a former high school and college coach (Rutgers, University of Detroit), and was also head coach of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons from 1978 to 1979, before going into sportscasting full time.
Dick Vitale loves what he does, and admitted that he wants to reach 50 years with ESPN. Apparently, he and the sports network have an open-ended agreement that could enable him to do just that. “Vitale said he has a traditional broadcast contract — it was recently extended for another year — but ESPN management has told him that he has a contract for life as long as he is physically, emotionally and mentally able to work. There might not be another sports broadcaster (perhaps outside of Vin Scully) on television with that kind of guarantee.”
Are you a fan of Dick Vitale’s colorful broadcast style in college basketball analysis? Who do you think does the best Dick Vitale impression on the ESPN Dickie V anniversary commemoration video?
[image credit: Dave Hogg]