Dick Vitale had waited a long time to get back to calling college basketball games. When the moment finally arrived on Tuesday night in Las Vegas, the easily-excitable broadcast was overcome with emotion.
Vitale, who's currently battling lymphoma after previously beating melanoma, returned to the sidelines to call the much-hyped matchup between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA at T-Mobile Arena. When he finally appeared on screen to address the audience for the first time, Vitale burst into tears as he expressed gratitude for making it back to doing the thing he loves most.
"I didn't want to cry," Vitale said after an introduction from play-by-play announcer Dave O'Brien. "I can't believe I'm sitting here. It's just really a big thrill for me. I want to thank all you people who sent me so many great messages."
Vitale, 82, revealed four weeks ago that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, and has been undergoing treatment. The popular ESPN broadcaster and former coach said at the time he revealed his diagnosis that the plan was to treat the lymphoma with steroids and six months of chemotherapy, and that his medical team told him the disease has a 90% cure rate.
Though the college basketball season is still in its infant stages, it will be hard to top Vitale's return to the broadcast table for the best feel-good moments of the year.
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