Nov 23, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Basketball sportscaster Dick Vitale talks to the media before the start of a game between the UCLA Bruins and the Gonzaga Bulldogs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Dick Vitale will be off the air for awhile at ESPN, though his ongoing battle with lymphoma isn’t to blame.

On Wednesday, Vitale announced that he needs to rest his voice due to problems with his vocal cords.

Per a blog post from Vitale, acclaimed throat specialist Dr. Steven Zeitels diagnosed him with pre-cancerous dysplasia on the vocal cords and advised him to rest his voice. Zeitels has treated numerous people with famous voices over the years, including Adele, Joe Buck, Roger Daltrey, and Steven Tyler, and his work is quite well regarded.

Vitale also said that his chemo was going well and that he didn’t want people to worry if they didn’t see him on the air.

I’m not sure exactly how long I will be off the air as a result of this or how many games I will miss. Dr. Zeitels wants to see me every couple weeks in the New Year to check on my progress. Of course, I am heartbroken that I won’t be immediately sitting courtside doing what I love, yet I’m in this for the long run. I plan to do games when I’m 100 – I need to listen to Dr. Z!

Because I will be off the air for the time being, I didn’t want people to fear that I had a setback with my cancer treatments. As I announced previously, Dr. Rick Brown had said I’m cured from melanoma, and they say we are making fantastic progress in my battle with lymphoma. My chemo treatments will resume tomorrow and I hope and pray that they continue to be successful.

Vitale has called a handful of games for ESPN this year, emotionally returning to the booth for Gonzaga-UCLA in November, providing a vintage call for Dayton’s buzzer beating win over Kansas days later, and getting a massive ovation from the Baylor crowd a couple of weeks ago before calling their win over Villanova.

Hopefully, Vitale’s vocal cord issues are solved with rest, and he’s back to calling college hoops games sooner rather than later.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.