- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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I have received many honors in my life. I have been so blessed. Now, to have the court named after me at the University of Detroit is something so, so special. This ranks right near the top of things that have happened to me in my life.
I am in 10 Hall of Fames and I cannot run, cannot jump and have a body by linguine. I am in because people have been supportive of me over the years. They love my passion and enthusiasm. To be in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame, and now this naming of the court, all I can say is W-O-W!
This is so special and unique. It is such an emotional moment for me because when I am long gone, my children, grandchildren and hopefully great grandchildren will be able to see my name on that court and remember me.
Let me tell you, when the school's athletic director Keri Gaither called me, I said that I was not deserving of this. I was only there for five years, coaching for four and serving as the AD for one. I said come on, and she said it is not solely based on coaching, but on everything you have achieved and the visibility you have given to the university.
Based on that, I said fine. It is a great thrill to see all of those who had a vital role in my career. Assistant coaches like David Gaines and Mike Buckner, players like John Long, Terry Duerod, Earl Cureton and Terry Tyler, there is no way in the world I would have achieved some of the things that have happened to me.
I was thrilled to help create some basketball excitement and enthusiasm, getting people to come out to the arena. I will never forget my 21st win in a row my final season, when we won at the buzzer at Marquette. What a magical moment and thrill to beat one of my idols, Al McGuire, a guy I admired and respected so much. To win that game, the same year Marquette went on and won the national title, meant so much to the program.
That season, we advanced to the NCAA tournament. Back then, only 32 teams made it to the big dance, so that was really a big deal. We gave the top team in America all it could handle, but Johnny Orr's Michigan Wolverines edged us out. It was a heartbreaker in the Sweet 16, in Lexington, Kentucky.
It was through those days my broadcasting career really got started. Without the university and the people in Titan Territory, there would be no Dickie V., no ESPN, no Hall of Fame.
So I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I give credit to the players and coaches, and to all the wonderful people at ESPN. From the broadcast partners I have enjoyed working with for years, the producers, directors, graphic operators, each and every person that has played a part in my life, thank you, thank you, thank you. You don't receive an honor like this without a lot of help.
Thanks to everyone in Detroit for this honor. I cannot believe it. My feeling is awesome, baby with a capital A!
For Jimmy V week, Dick Vitale remembers his old friend and the legacy he left.