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Mike and Mike: ESPN's Dick Vitale is awed and overwhelmed to be named a finalist for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Truly awesome to be a Hall of Fame finalist


Feb. 16, 2004
I really was in awe on Sunday when I learned that I'm a finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame.

It was totally overwhelming, because many of those already enshrined in the Hall of Fame are people I have idolized over the years. To see my name up there on the list of finalists ... just thinking of it brings tears to my eyes. It's an amazing feeling, and it's also humbling.

I can't give enough thanks to all the people who have helped me throughout my career.
I have lots of fun doing what I do, but it's still incredible to think back where I came from as a sixth-grade teacher in New Jersey, chasing a dream, coaching a game. Then going on to a career in TV and now being considered for the Hall of Fame -- it has been an incredible journey!

I am grateful to ESPN director of communications Mike Soltys and the PR people at ESPN who put my name forward, and to the various coaches who wrote letters of recommendation on my behalf.

I can't give enough thanks to all the people who have helped me throughout my career -- the beautiful folks at ESPN and ABC, the producers and directors, the behind-the-scenes people and administrators. It started with then-ESPN producer Scotty Connal, who gave me my first opportunity in 1979, and Jim Simpson, who worked with me in the early days.

I've had great broadcast partners like John Saunders, Brent Musberger, Mike Patrick, Brad Nessler, Dan Shulman and so many others over the years. I work with the greatest people in the world. There are so many beautiful, beautiful people -- I got so many messages on Sunday!

Everyone has allowed me to have a dream life. To think that my name is nominated as a finalist in that fashion, wow! Obviously, in any sport -- be it basketball, baseball, football or hockey -- the ultimate is to be honored by your peers and to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. If that happens in my case, that would be as good as it gets professionally, baby!

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before providing color commentary for ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he's been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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