Vitale named Hall finalist as 'contributor to the sport'

Dick Vitale is one of 15 finalists for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor to the sport, it was announced Friday.

The final inductees will be announced April 7 in San Antonio at the NCAA men's Final Four. The enshrinement ceremonies are Sept. 5 in Springfield, Mass.

Vitale is a finalist for the fourth time.

"It's absolutely always a thrill to learn that you've been nominated for the most prestigious honor in your profession -- the National Basketball Hall of Fame," Vitale said. "To be mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Pat Riley and all the others that have been nominated just brings me great joy."

Hall of Fame contributors are described as those who have made significant contributions to the game and its growth.

Vitale missed two months of this season due to vocal cord surgery. He returned to the airwaves on Feb. 6.