Dick Vitale Can't Hold Back His Tears During Emotional Return to ESPN Amid Cancer Battle

Dick Vitale is back on the sidelines and got very emotional during his return. The legendary college basketball broadcaster appeared at the Gonzaga vs. UCLA game on Tuesday night amid his battle with lymphoma, which was diagnosed in October and comes months after he revealed in August that he was then cancer-free after being diagnosed with melanoma over the summer. He called Tuesday's game with play-by-play announcer Dave O'Brien on ESPN and couldn't hold back his tears before the game tipped off. 

"I didn't want to cry," Vitale said through tears on the ESPN broadcast. "I can't believe I'm sitting here. This is really a big thrill for me. I want to thank all you people sending me so many great messages. I want to thank my family and all the fans. You've been unbelievable." 

USA Today said Vitale has been given the OK by his doctors to call games between his chemotherapy treatments all throughout the 2021-22 season. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, sitting by my second family," Vitale said he will have a body scan on Nov. 29 that will reveal his full course for chemotherapy treatment. 

When Vitale was diagnosed with lymphoma last month, he said he's receiving a 90% cure rate and will continue to work for ESPN. "With all that said, I consider myself very lucky," the 82-year-old broadcaster said. "I've seen firsthand the devastation that cancer can have on families, on children, and on all of our loved ones. It can bring you to your knees. It's physically and emotionally exhausting. It robs you of so many things, including life itself for some of the most unfortunate patients. I never lose sight of that, and that's why I feel so lucky."


In August, Vitale announced he was diagnosed with melanoma earlier this year. He said: "On June 28, I went for my first surgery to have the growth removed from above my nose. It helped that we caught it early, and I was thrilled to learn it hadn't spread. The bottom line is they removed all cancer cells, and I was relieved, big time, to be cancer clear." Vitale has been the face of college basketball for ESPN since joining the network during the 1979-80 season. Due to his success in college basketball, Vitale was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.