Some love him, some don’t. He’s one of the most animated commentators not only in college basketball but in all sports, and has become synonymous with college hoops.
Dick Vitale. Dickie V.
You’ve seen him crowd-surfing in the student section and heard him use the word “baby” more than some people use the word “um.”
Let’s take a look at this legendary college basketball figure’s 25 most famous quotes.
"I learned from my mom and dad, who didn't have a formal education but had doctorates of love. They told me that if you gave 110 percent all the time, a lot of beautiful things will happen. I may not always be right, but no one can ever accuse me of not having a genuine love and passion for whatever I do."
It’s true—you may not love the legendary Dickie V, but his passion and excitement for the game is incredibly undeniable.
"Glue guys aren't superstars. They're not the No. 1 option. They just do things only coaches really appreciate. The stars get the headlines, but glue guys help you get in the winner's circle. I don't think you can win without having that kind of player."
On team players that don’t get much attention but are crucial to the team.
"Today in coaching, it's a two-way street. They can fire you whenever they want. Bottom line: It's all about what you can do to better yourself professionally. This is a better move."
Over the years, Vitale has been very vocal about what he believes to be unjust firings of coaches like Tubby Smith and Bob Knight.
"I'm absolutely shocked. I can't believe he went that high."
Vitale bursts in excitement with a good slam. He has referred to high-flying dunkers as “elevator men.”
"It was flat-out scary, baby."
“Scary” has come to mean “amazing” or “unbelievable” in Vitale’s lexicon.
"It's not over. I'm confident they can do it. But it's not a closed case."
Dickie V. seldom gives up hope and is usually pulling for the upset.
"In my 27 years of calling games for ESPN, I have never ever seen a player take more verbal abuse than he has taken."
On J.J. Reddick being brutally heckled by Duke’s ACC-rival Maryland.
"You hate to think one of those kids is not going to get a trophy for Player of the Year. There are numerous awards, and ideally they would split them. If Morrison doesn't get a Player of the Year award, I'll buy him a gold trophy, call it the Dickie V. P-T-Per Award and ship it out to him myself."
On Adam Morrison being overshadowed for the Player of the Year Award by Duke’s J.J. Reddick.
"When you can go on the road and get 35 at Kansas with the rock-chalk Jayhawk crowd going bananas and you make big plays to help your club leave with a win on the road like that, you've got talent. So, he's got talent."
On Mitch Richmond scoring 35 points to lead Kansas State to victory on the road against rival Kansas in 1988.
"It's the greatest achievement I've ever witnessed in all my years of being a coach and a television personality. I really, absolutely have been blown away."
On George Mason, a No. 11 seed, winning its way into the Final Four against all odds in 2006.
"Gowdy had a love affair with the microphone and the fans had a love affair with him. American sports fans truly lost an icon, a legend who never felt he was bigger than anyone else. He had that humility that made him special, and he made everyone feel like they were so important."
On Curt Gowdy, the “voice” of the Red Sox, passing away in 2006.
“He’s a PTPer tonight, baby!”
Vitale created the acronym “PTP” to stand for “prime-time performer,” and has used the phrase throughout the years to describe clutch players.
“Oh, oh, unbelievable! Can’t believe it!”
Dickie V. after Indiana upset No. 1 Kentucky in 2011. Vitale, who is a vocal guy, is often found speechless when amazing things happen, resorting to uttering “Oh, oh!” repeatedly.
“Unbelievable” he then repeats.
“He’s a Diaper Dandy!”
Vitale uses the phrase “Diaper Dandy” as a label for the top performers in the freshman class.
This season, one of Vitale’s favorite Diaper Dandies has been Kentucky’s Anthony Davis.
“It is time for everyone to sit down —the NCAA, the NBA, the players union and the coaching fraternity—and come up with suitable solutions to these problems.”
On the recent trend of “one-and-done” players who solely use college basketball as a stepping stone for the NBA.
“You'd have to live in a cave not to know about the Carrier Dome. It put Syracuse on the map.”
On Syracuse’s basketball arena, which has an especially large seating capacity of 33,000.
“When a coach gets that opportunity to observe, he's going to look. Because he wants to create a contract that is strong and gives his family the kind of security that guys really seek in anything, whether it be the corporate world, whether it be sports.”
On college coaches receiving offers from the NBA.
“I think they are a very dangerous basketball team, a team that could create a lot of problems.”
Vitale often uses the word “dangerous” in reference to good teams that pose a threat to opposing teams.
“He’s awesome, baby, with a capital “A.”
A classic Dickie V. quote.
“The Heels are on fire. Somebody call up the fire chief to put out the fire.”
On North Carolina when Jerry Stackhouse was with the team in the 1990s.
“My wife knows diddly about basketball, but if you put her here and said, ‘Look at Colorado’s resume, look at UAB, and look at VCU,’ it’d be an (inaudible) mismatch, man. It would be like a beauty contest—Roseanne Barr walking in versus Scarlett Johansson. No shot. None, whatsoever.”
On VCU and UAB being selected for the 2011 NCAA Tournament at the expense of Colorado.
“My wife grabbed me [when] we got out of church. She said, ‘Don’t make a big scene with the committee like you do every year. Finding one team—and we always find one—and we battle and battle, but you know what? I can’t take it, man, when I see kids be given a raw deal.”
After the NCAA Tournament selection committee made its decisions on the teams in the 2011 field.
(Also featured in the video from the preceding slide.)
“I know people don’t want to hear me talk about Duke. Hey, so what? I’m talking about them because they deserve to be talked about. They’re brilliant the way they’re playing right now.”
Vitale responding to critics who claim he favors Duke too much.
“Off balance! Unbelievable! Connecticut wins their first Big East Championship. This group of people! Dance, Jimmy, baby! Dance, Jimmy, baby!”
After Ray Allen hit an off-balance, game-winning shot to grant Connecticut its first Big East championship in 1996. Coach Jim Calhoun was jumping for joy on the sidelines after the game.
“I’ll tell you what—I’m supposed to go home for the weekend—if Princeton can beat Georgetown, I am going to hitchhike to Providence, which isn’t that far from here, I’m gonna be their ball boy on their next game, and then I’m gonna change into a Princeton cheer-leading uniform and I’m gonna lead all the cheers.”
Vitale before the 1989 NCAA Tournament matchup between Princeton and Georgetown. He was shocked when Princeton was up at halftime, but the Tigers went o to lose the game by one point, so he didn’t have to follow through with his proposal.