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ESPN analyst Dick Vitale emotional during TV return after lymphoma diagnosis

ESPN analyst Dick Vitale emotional during TV return after lymphoma diagnosis
ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, shown March 11, 2018, said he planned to treat the cancer with steroids and six months of chemotherapy. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Dick Vitale, one of ESPN's most prominent and recognizable college basketball analysts, made an emotional return to the commentary table Tuesday night, more than a month after the legendary broadcaster revealed he was diagnosed with lymphoma.

On Oct. 18, Vitale said in a statement that he planned to treat the cancer with steroids and six months of chemotherapy. The 82-year-old ESPN personality, however, noted that he'll manage the treatments around his work schedule for the network this coming season to avoid missing games.

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Vitale honored that commitment by returning for ESPN's coverage of Tuesday night's showdown between top-ranked Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA.

"I didn't want to cry," Vitale said through tears before the start of the game. "I can't believe I'm sitting here. This is really a big thrill for me. ... I never dreamt at 82 that I would ever be at courtside again."

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During the game, Vitale was gifted a jersey from Gonzaga with "Dickie V" on it. UCLA also gave him a jersey with "Never Give Up" on it.

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In his statement last month, Vitale said he underwent multiple surgeries over the summer to remove melanoma. The Basketball Hall of Famer said doctors believe that previous diagnosis is not related to his lymphoma.

"I am so lucky and blessed to have a great team of medical experts along with wonderful family support," Vitale said in October. "I am also blessed to work with so many in my second family, ESPN. They have been so encouraging over the past three weeks as I've undergone one test after another in trying to analyze what was causing my symptoms.

"If you see me, please just give me a fist bump and say a prayer that I can return from being 82 years old to acting like I'm 12. Thanks so much for your love."

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Vitale joined ESPN less than four months after the network launched in September 1979. He has supported the V Foundation for Cancer Research over the years and hosts an annual gala for pediatric cancer research.

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. According to ESPN, Vitale has served as the color analyst for more than 1,000 games with the network.

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