I like Dick Vitale. Always have. And yes, I’ve heard the criticism that Dickie V takes it over the top too much on his college basketball broadcasts. And yes, he has no mute button, no matter what subject he is talking about.
But what makes Vitale different and special and certainly worthy of being included in the National Broadcasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame as was announced over the weekend is that Dickie V is 100 percent genuine.
What you see is what you get with Vitale. Fame and fortune have not changed him. The same person who screams at you for 2 hours during a North Carolina State-Duke game is the same guy that I first met as a high school basketball coach in New Jersey more than 40 years ago.
I remember walking into the gym at then East Rutherford High School in the early 7o’s and watching a team Vitale coached and hearing the same decibel level of shouting and cheering as I do now.
I remember being in Beverly Hills with Dickie V and his wife Lorraine 20 years ago and watching Vitale stroll Rodeo Drive, searching for celebrities and then watching him almost burst with pride when he was walking to his car and someone rolled down the window and yell, “Dickie V, you’re Awesome baby.”
I remember siting outside of the Broken Egg restaurant in Sarasota, Fla, a few years ago as Dickie V, talked about all the good the Jimmy V fund had done over the years since his friend Jimmy Valvano had died from cancer.
It’s all real. And while it may be too much for some people who think that Vitale shouts that everything is the greatest, it doesn’t bother me a bit because that is what Dick Vitale is. And what he always will be, which is why he is our Jersey Guy of the Week.
He’s the real deal. And if you don’t like it, deal with it. I hope he’s around for a long time.
© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.