Dick Vitale's latest bout with cancer is now behind him, but he’s not quite ready to return to the broadcast booth just yet.
The Hall of Fame college basketball commentator announced Monday his vocal cord cancer “is gone.” The 84-year-old had hoped to start calling games on ESPN near the end of November, but his doctors recommended he keep resting his vocal cords. It’s unclear when Vitale will get to call a game again.
“While I’m disappointed with the latest developments, I remain hopeful,” Vitale said in a statement. “The cancer is gone, which is amazing news, yet the impact of the treatments has taken its toll on my voice and requires more healing.”
Vitale was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer earlier this year, which marked his third cancer diagnosis in as many years. He was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2021, and then was diagnosed with lymphoma a few months later. He made an incredibly emotional return to ESPN when he called his first game during the 2021-22 season, just one month after his lymphoma diagnosis.
— ESPN (@espn) November 24, 2021
Vitale announced in August 2022 that he was cancer-free. He was also diagnosed with vocal cord dysplasia in 2022 and needed surgery.
He has shared updates from his multiple cancer battles on social media and said Monday he is working to help his voice recover after undergoing 35 radiation treatments.
Speech therapists Amy & Michelle r helping me recover from the cancer & 35 radiation treatments on my vocal cords . Great news radiation wiped out the cancer but has affected my vocal cords - 🙏🙏🙏problem clears up so I can get the BEST MEDICINE of all -Sitting at courtside . pic.twitter.com/MuJSETnq4Y
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) November 13, 2023
"With the season started, I am jumping out of my shoes to be back in the college basketball arenas, calling the game I love and being around so many great colleagues and fans," Vitale said. "I have to listen to the medical experts, who have been so good to me, and with some more rest, I know I will be back for my 45th season. I've been so touched by the amazing response I've received."
Vitale has been with ESPN since the network first started broadcasting college basketball games in 1979. He called the first college basketball game on the network that year, and he quickly became one of the most iconic broadcasters in all of sports. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008, and he was given the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance by ESPN last summer.