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Dick Vitale Biography - Coaches At All Levels, Soars With Cable Network, Chronology, Lebron James Controversy, Vitale's Impact

espn basketball sports college

1939-

American sportscaster

ESPN's "mouth that roars," Dick Vitale, is more than a college basketball announcer. He is a cult figure, showman, power broker, author, columnist,

Dick Vitale

cameo actor, motivational speaker and frequent lightning rod for controversy. Players, coaches, fans and media respect his wisdom and influence; some mimic his "V-Speak," his self-styled vocabulary; others cringe at his shtick. Vitale and ESPN have ridden each other's coattails since the all-sports cable network's launch in 1979.

Some critics say Vitale's appearance on ESPN's telecasts of high school games involving prized recruit LeBron James of Akron, Ohio, reflects a maddening overhype of scholastic sports. Others say Vitale spares coaches, some of whom are his closest friends, when he addresses the ills of college basketball. And still others say Vitale and the network encourage carnival barking to the detriment of the game.

Sketch by Paul Burton

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