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Dick Vitale is one of the more polarizing personalities in college basketball.
While there may not be a single person that truly loves college basketball as much as Dickie V, that energy and enthusiasm has a tendency to manifest itself in the form of a dizzying array of "dipsy-doo, dunkaroos", "diaper dandies", and "PTPers".
Simply put, its not hard to understand why there is a large contingent of the population that cannot stand to watch a game announced by Vitale.
Here at BIAH, we have given Vitale plenty of ridicule during this off-season, but the honest-to-goodness truth is that we like him. His passion for the game, and his general zest for life, is unparalleled in the industry.
But it goes beyond that.
Dickie V is also one of the most caring and generous people I've come across.
Everyone knows about his work with the V Foundation and his efforts in finding a cure for cancer. While you may grow tired of him pronouncing it "CAN-suhh" or hearing him wax poetic about his good friend Jim Valvano, I challenge anyone to question his motivation or desire to put an end to the deadly disease.
But if you want to get a real feel for the type of person Vitale is, take a look at this story coming out of Tampa. From TampaBayOnline.com:
ESPN commentator Dick Vitale spoke this morning with Raechelle James, the mother of Jazmine Thompson, the Bayshore High School cheerleader who was fatally shot Friday night.
Vitale said he has made arrangements with the family to help with funeral expenses. James recently lost her job and does not have insurance.
"I didn't know Jazmine. I just know what I read, and it tears my heart out," Vitale said. "There's no way there should be a funeral for that young girl this weekend. She did nothing wrong. She was minding her own business."
Vitale also said he will speak with Bayshore High officials about establishing a scholarship fund in the names of Thompson and Dejuan Williams, a Bayshore graduate who was shot and killed Aug. 4.
Now, anyone that wants to hate on Vitale for his inability to provide color for a game above the fifth grade level, feel free. You will hear no objection from me. And if you're asking after I've been forced to listen to Vitale provide on-air sexual favors to Coach K's Blue Devils for the umpteenth time, odds are good I would agree.
But do not question Vitale's integrity. Do not question the genuineness of his character.
Do not question his intentions when he helps people like Raechelle James.
Because I can guarantee that his decision to help pay for this funeral (and for a scholarship fund in the name of these two kids) has nothing to do with his standing in the court of public opinion. It has nothing to do with Vitale trying to protect his image.
This was something Vitale did because he cares. Because he wants to help people in need.
That's just the kind of person he is.