Tag:Dick Vitale
Posted on: April 8, 2008 5:40 pm

Another anti-Vitale screed

I made my thoughts clear yesterday on Dick Vitale and the Hall of Fame -- it's an abomination.

Something I forgot -- but which had me equally outraged -- was how I heard about the news. From Vitale himself. On ESPN. Before the official announcement was made. It reminded me of NBA award announcements, how the winner is 'leaked' a few days beforehand, then the actual deal is anticlimactic.

Then I started thinking of the guys and gal who were elected alongside (argghhh!) Vitale. Those with more serious Hall of Fame credentials. And how they didn't have their own network to publicize the news and steal the thunder away from their fellow electees. Vitale exposed himself as an egomaniac, eager to go on the air and cry, and blubber, and make sure everybody knew he was in the Hall of Fame.

Did Pat Riley -- five NBA championships as a head coach, one as a player, a very accomplished in both -- do this? How about Hakeem Olajuwon -- two NBA titles as a player, consecutive appearances in the NCAA title game, one of the greatest big men ever in the game? Patrick Ewing, Olajuwon's peer? Or any of the other people elected Monday? No, just Vitale, bawling his eyes out, showing everybody his true colors.

Give me Gus Johnson any day.

Posted on: April 7, 2008 8:22 pm

Why don't we just put Stephen A. Smith in there?

Who would you rather listen to while watching a college basketball game -- Dick Vitale or Gus Johnson?

The Loudmouth has been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. I assume because of his "contributions" to the game. Which I assume to include yelling, planting his lips on Coach K's but (when they are't securely on Bob Knight's gluteus maximus), and yelling some more.

Like many ESPN "personalities," his schtick has gotten tired. He has become a cariciture of himself. When he starts screaming "PTPer, baaaaaaabyyyyyyy," I have too cringe. Maybe it was something special when he was yelling such things about Derrick Coleman. Or Glen Rice. Or Danny Ferry. I don't think I am alone in this, but my ears start to bleed when I hear his voice.

Not many announcers are in the Hall of Fame. Chick Hearn is inducted. Johnny Most was given the Curt Gowdy Award, but he isn't enshrined. Dick Vitale alongside Hearn, above Most? Not a chance.

The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best. Legends. Or people who contributed so much to the game, it wouldn't be the same without their presence. Can you say any of those things about Vitale? No. You might say he helped make college basketball as popular as it is today. Wrong -- it was the players. It's always about the players. People don't tune in to listen to Vitale, the tune in to  see Ewing vs. Olajuwon, Webber and the Fab Five against Duke, and tonight, Derrick Rose against Kansas.

College basketball exploded because Vitale's network began television games nearly every night of the week. It exploded because superstar players, and to a certain extent, superstar coaches, made it an even worth watching. It exploded because Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (before the saved the NBA) gave birth to the modern era of college basketball.

Dick Vitale had nothing to do with any of that, except maybe ESPN putting more games on the tube to give its bald-headed freak more exposure.

If all it takes to be recognized as a Hall of Famer is the ability to scream, there is a long list of people that belong there. And they would probably be about as successful as Vitale at coaching. And as easy to listen to as an announcer.

By the way, before the announcement of Vitale's election Monday, if you put "Dick Vitale Hall of Fame" into Google, the first link to come up was a year-old column by Gregg Doyel about such a prospect. He was rightly horrified. Now that this dark day has come to pass, I almost can't admit that the Hall of Fame is located in my home state.

With Springfield in Western Massachusetts, maybe the Commonwealth should just give it to New York. I hear loudmouths are pretty popular there.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com