Dick Vitale, the longtime ESPN college basketball broadcaster and Hall of Famer, will be the recipient of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at this year’s ESPYS.
Vitale, 82, announced in August that he had undergone multiple surgeries to remove melanoma. In October, he announced he had been diagnosed with lymphoma. His chemotherapy treatment for lymphoma forced the veteran broadcaster to step back from ESPN’s college basketball coverage.
“The good news is that he doesn’t believe anything is life-threatening; however, Dr. [Steven] Zeitels says I have pre-cancerous Dysplasia on the vocal cords,” Vitale said in a December statement. “Bottom line is I need to rest them — my voice needs a T.O., BABY!”
Vitale has documented his cancer journey on social media and in March appeared at the SEC tournament, where he was recognized for his contributions to the sport, the league and his fight against cancer.
Vitale announced in April that he is cancer-free.
The Jimmy V Award is named after the late Jim Valvano, Vitale’s former broadcast partner at ESPN who gave a famously impassioned speech about living with cancer when he was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the first ESPYS in 1993. Vitale presented Valvano at the awards show that night.
“When I received the call from [ESPN president] Jimmy Pitaro about receiving this award, I was absolutely blown away,” Vitale said in a statement Monday. “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.”
The Jimmy V Award was first given out at the 2007 ESPYS. The award show helps raise awareness and funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the charity founded by Valvano.
This year’s ESPYS will be broadcast live July 20 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.