Dick Vitale Cleared to Speak at 2022 ESPYS to Accept Jimmy V Award

by Nick Geddes

Dick Vitale revealed Friday that he’s been medically cleared to speak at the 2022 ESPYS on July 20.

The longtime ESPN college basketball color commentator was named the recipient of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance after beating Lymphoma. Vitale previously had multiple surgeries to remove Melanoma prior to being diagnosed. He’s been recovering from the effects of dysplasia on his vocal cords since the fall.

But that’s not stopping Vitale, who is sure to make his speech on Wednesday night “awesome, baby!” Dick Vitale shared a clip to Twitter in which his doctor, Steve Zeitels, confirmed that Vitale “should be ready to go next Wednesday.”

“You’re almost entirely healed now,” Zeitels said, via Jelani Scott of Sports Illustrated. “We’re pretty pleased where things are at. … The membrane is almost completely healed. Initially you had carcinoma in situ, which is pre-cancerous dysplasia throughout your vocal cords and you had the larger operation in February. We then had to follow with the second stage, which was not too long ago in June. At this point, I see no disease there at this point, so you’re gonna be good to go.”

Vitale, 82, was inactive from ESPN for majority of the 2021-22 college basketball season. Vitale was on the call for Gonzaga vs. UCLA in November, the lone game he called this past season. He was then put on vocal rest and underwent surgery.

Dick Vitale was “Blown Away” when He Learned He was Receiving the Award

Vitale previously presented a similar award back in 1993 to Jim Valvano. Valvano received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the first ever ESPYS. On that night, Valvano gave us the “Don’t Ever Give Up” speech. Valvano passed away two months later after a long battle with metastatic cancer.

Upon learning he would now be receiving the award named after his longtime friend, Vitale said he was “blown away.”

“When I received the call from Jimmy Pitaro about receiving this award, I was absolutely blown away,” Vitale said. “I remember that day almost 30 years ago, when I stood on stage at the first ESPYS, introduced Jimmy V and witnessed him give that incredible speech we all remember. I reflected on his speech many times during my seven month battle – ‘don’t give up, don’t ever give up Dickie V’ – and I remembered my mother and father, who taught me never to believe in ‘can’t’.

“Jimmy V was special and his legacy lives on. I am so grateful to receive this tremendous award in his honor.”