The 2021-22 college basketball season is in full swing but has been without a familiar face on broadcasts. When No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA face each other, a rematch of the 2021 epic Final Four thriller, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale will call his first basketball game of the season.
Vitale was released from the hospital after a day of chemotherapy on Nov. 16. He shared an emotional tweet about returning to the booth on Tuesday night.
"When told I had cancer at 82 on Oct, 12 I thought my days behind the mic were over," Vitale tweeted. "I am thrilled to be joining Dave O’Brien on the call of GONZAGA VS UCLA ! 10 pm EST on @espn."
Doctors told Vitale that he could do all of the things he would normally do at a basketball game and "not worry about the cancer."
“It’s great medicine, right?” Vitale told the Los Angeles Times. "And that’s how the doctors feel too. They told me, ‘All the tests about how you are — your EKG, your heart, your organs, they’re all great, so there’s no reason why you cannot go on and live your life, be active and let us worry about chemo and let us worry about the cancer. You do what you normally do at 82 — enjoy yourself.’ ”
The longtime analyst revealed on Oct. 18 that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and had begun treatment. Before his announcement, Vitale underwent multiple surgeries to remove melanoma in August.
Vitale also thanked his wife, Lorraine, and his second family at ESPN for reaching out to him during his time in the hospital. Tuesday's game marks the start of Vitale's 43rd year of doing college basketball games.
College basketball fans, get ready. In the words of Vitale himself, "It's gonna be awesome baby."
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