Just as he has for years, ESPN commentator Dick Vitale will take the sideline for a marquee college basketball matchup later tonight. But as he prepares for this evening's contest between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA, this assignment certainly holds a special place in his heart.
This will be Vitale's first game first game back since receiving his cancer diagnosis on Oct. 12 of this year.
Before tonight's tipoff at 10 p.m. ET, the 82-year-old commentator shared a message on Twitter.
"Just making final prep for game @espn 10 EST # 1 GONZAGA - #2 UCLA - to be honest on Oct 12 when given the cancer diagnosis I never thought that I would be at courtside tonight / ur [prayers] have helped so so much . To ALL of u in any battle 'Don’t ever believe in can’t'!" he
Just making final prep for game @espn 10 EST # 1 GONZAGA - #2 UCLA - to be honest on Oct 12 when given the cancer diagnosis I never thought that I would be at courtside tonight / ur 🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️❤️ have helped so so much . To ALL of u in any battle “Don’t ever believe in can’t”! pic.twitter.com/ty1rszeAp1
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) November 23, 2021
Over the past few weeks, Vitale has undergone multiple chemotherapy treatments. Putting his treatments on pause, the Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer flew to Las Vegas for his first game assignment of the year this evening.
With decades of sports broadcasting experience, Vitale feels right at home with a microphone in front of him for a big-time game.
He calls tonight's assignment “The medicine of sitting courtside,” per Yahoo Sports.
Vitale couldn't have picked a better game to mark his 2021-22 season debut. In a clash of unbeaten teams, the Zags and Bruins will rehash last year's thrilling Final Four, overtime matchup with an early-season bout.
Tonight's meeting between No. 1 and No. 2 marks just the 43rd time in college basketball history that the top-two teams in the AP poll have faced off.