“It’s awesome, baby!” is one of the primary catchphrases Dick Vitale uses while he’s calling college basketball games, and the longtime ESPN voice is now using that saying for something other than basketball.
Vitale, a beloved part of the college basketball community who recently beat cancer, will be honored for the positive, uplifting attitude and determination he showcased while undergoing cancer treatments. As shared by ESPN on Monday, Vitale will be presented with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at The 2022 ESPYS, which will take place on July 20.
After announcing he had undergone multiple surgeries to remove melanoma, Vitale later shared he was diagnosed with lymphoma and had to receive six months of chemotherapy. Maintaining a positive attitude throughout it all, Dickie V ultimately beat cancer in March when he received a clear scan. I bet Vitale shouted, “It’s awesome, baby … with a capital A!“, when he was told the great news.
While the award recognition means everything to the 82-year-old Vitale, it’s even more humbling for him simply due to the fact that he presented a similar award – the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage – to his longtime friend Jim Valvano at the first-ever ESPYS in 1993.
Similar to Vitale, Valvano also battled cancer with everything he had. Sadly, Jimmy V passed away two months after the first ESPYS when he delivered his famous “Don’t Ever Give Up” speech.
Dickie V Is A Big Advocate for Cancer Research
Ever since the V Foundation for Cancer Research was established, Dick Vitale has been one of the leading advocates. He even started an annual gala that’s raised more than $55 million for pediatric cancer research through the V Foundation. That alone shows the kind of person Dickie V is.
In ESPN’s news release, Vitale shared just how much it means to be receiving the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at The 2022 ESPYS.
“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.”