Vitale rings bell in celebration of being cancer free

SARASOTA, Florida — Dick Vitale smiled. “Hey, ring that bell honey,” he said. “Just ring the bell.”

This time, Vitale didn’t mention a big dunk or a clutch play from another college basketball player. It was his own win, his own Big Dance in April.

The famous college basketball figure, a former coach and former ESPN announcer, celebrates after finishing chemotherapy at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida. He tweeted on Thursday that he was cancer-free and posted a video of him ringing the bell excitedly.

Vitale, 82, said in the fall he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, months after multiple surgeries to remove melanoma. He has recorded his treatments and recovery on social media, posting photos of doctor visits and hospital stays, while providing motivational tips recorded before he was put on voice rest.

Vitale has been with ESPN since 1979, the year the network was launched. He called ESPN’s first college basketball broadcast.

For almost as long as Vitale has been a part of college basketball, he’s been battling cancer. He helped friend Jim Valvano to the ESPYs podium, where Valvano delivered his iconic “Don’t give up” speech.

Vitale, a prominent fundraiser for childhood cancer research, is planning its 17th annual Dick Vitale Gala in Sarasota in early May. The event has raised more than $50 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

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