40th Annual Sports Emmys to Honor Dick Vitale With Life Achievement Award

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) announced that long-time college basketball analyst Dick Vitale will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports this year at the 40th Annual Sports Emmy Awards.

“Dick Vitale is one of the most unique, effusive and recognizable voices in sports broadcasting today,” says Adam Sharp, President and CEO, NATAS. “His knowledge, enthusiasm, and love of the game are captured in every comment, call, and catchphrase he creates. He is a master behind the microphone and a great humanitarian. The National Academy could not be more proud to honor him with our distinguished, Lifetime Achievement Awards for Sports!”

Vitale joined the iconic network during the 1979-80 season—just after the September 1979 launch—following a successful college and pro coaching career. In 2008, Vitale received the sport’s ultimate honor when he was selected as an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate, sometimes controversial style. Vitale called ESPN’s first-ever major NCAA basketball game—Wisconsin at DePaul on Dec. 5, 1979 (a 90-77 DePaul win). Since then, he’s called over a thousand games. He has been profiled by a wide array of national magazines, ranging from Sports Illustrated, Sport and The Sporting News to People, Playboy, and Travel & Leisure.

“To have my name listed among the giants in sports broadcasting and to receive this prestigious award leaves me speechless, and you probably know that doesn’t happen to me often,” says Vitale. “I’m in absolute awe, going from a jock in the locker room to 40 years and counting at ESPN to now being in the same group as many people I’ve idolized as a fan is incredible. I’ll simply say I’m so blessed and lucky and owe it all to my family and my second family at ESPN.”

In all, Vitale’s been selected for 13 halls of fame: National Italian Sports Hall of Fame, the Elmwood Park, N.J., Hall of Fame (his hometown), the Sarasota Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame (inducted in inaugural class of 2001), the Five-Star Basketball Camp Hall of Fame (2003), the University of Detroit Hall of Fame, the Florida Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 (he’s a resident of the state), the East Rutherford, N.J., Hall of Fame (1985), the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (2008), the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2008), Sarasota Community Archives Hall of Fame (2009), the Little League Museum Hall of Excellence (2012), the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Awards (NSSA) Hall of Fame (2013), Wooden Cup Award (2017) and the National Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame (2018)

“Dick becomes the thirtieth sports personality or executive to be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports, and only the second after John Madden from the analyst’s side of the microphone,” says Steve Ulrich, the Executive Vice President, Sports Emmy Awards and Events. “Stealing a line from Vitale: that’s ‘Awesome, Baby!'”.

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