Vitale Sticking With ESPN Through 2017 – 2018 Season

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Good news for basketball fans everywhere. Dick Vitale has signed a new contract with the worldwide leader in sports.

Officials with ESPN announced today that basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale has come to terms with the network on a new deal. The deal in question will keep Vitale with ESPN at least through the 2017 – 2018 basketball season. It will mark Vitale’s 39th season with ESPN. It also means that Vitale will continue to call some of the ESPN networks’ biggest basketball matchups for the foreseeable future. This includes regular-season games on ESPN and ESPN2, and the men’s Final Four on ESPN International.

John Wildhack, Executive VP of Production and Programming for ESPN noted Vitale’s love for basketball, his standout personality and his ability to connect with basketball fans thanks to both factors in signing the new deal saying, “Dick continues to connect with fans by demonstrating an incredibly successful combination of exuberance for and knowledge of the game he loves. He is a one-of-a-kind personality and the passion he brings to everything he is involved with continues to have an enormous impact.”

The deal having been completely finalized, Vitale shared his thoughts about being with the network over the years and what being part of the Worldwide Leader in Sports means to him, saying, “I am so proud to be part of the ESPN team. They have become my second family and have been a vital part of my life. It has been nothing but pure happiness working with the beautiful people at ESPN and I can’t thank them enough as they’ve been responsible for so many of the glorious days I’ve had in my life.”

Over the course of his time at ESPN, Vitale has earned quite the positive reputation. He was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. He has also been awarded for his efforts with the American Cancer Society, The National Association of Basketball Coaches (Court of Honor Award), and Seton Hall University (Humanitarian Award). His work as a board member on The V Foundation for Cancer Research has garnered him respect among his counterparts throughout the sports world as have his efforts with the Boys & Girls Club, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and many other organizations.

Vitale’s debut season on ESPN was the 1979 – 1980 season. That was just after ESPN’s debut season. From there, he went on to call ESPN’s first-ever NCAA basketball game. Wisconsin and DePaul faced off in that game with DePaul defeating Wisconsin 90 – 77. Throughout the years his play calling has become just part of why audiences have come to love him. His catch phrases (E.g. “Awesome, baby!,” “Get a TO, Baby!,” “PTP’er”) have become a part of his legacy. Off the court, Vitale has authored nine books and selected for nine halls of fame. Before joining ESPN, Vitale started his professional career teaching at Mark Twain Elementary School in Garfield, New Jersey and coaching middle school football and basketball. He coached at the high school level for eight years beginning in 1963. In 1970 he moved to the college ranks, working at both Rutgers and The University of Detroit. In May of 1978 he took the helm of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. It was from there that he eventually moved on to join ESPN in 1979.

More information on Vitale’s new deal is available online now along with all of the latest basketball news at:

Website: http://espn.go.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPN

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Collins Signs New Multi-Year Deal With ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Another big name has inked a deal with ESPN.  Veteran NBA head coach Doug Collins has signed a deal with the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.”  Collins’ multi-year deal will have him serving as an analyst on ESPN and ABC’s NBA Countdown.  He will be in comfortable company when he starts his duties this season.  He will be working alongside fellow NBA legends Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jalen Rose, and Bill Simmons.  The terms of Collins’ deal also will see him serve as an in-game analyst for select ESPN broadcasts.  It also includes appearances on SportsCenter ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, and other ESPN programming.

Collins was enthusiastic about signing with ESPN in a statement released this week.  “ESPN’s NBA coverage plays a leadership role in the way fans experience the sport, so I’m eager to share my basketball insights with our viewers,” he said.  “Working with Magic, Jalen, Bill and the rest of my new ESPN colleagues will be a lot of fun.”

John Wildhack, ESPN Executive VP of Production was just as pleased with the new deal.  He shared his thoughts in a prepared statement.  “Doug Collins is a one of the most respected NBA voices and we’re thrilled to have him join NBA Countdown. Collins brings a contemporary coaching perspective, which will enhance the diverse discussion on Countdown. Additionally, Michael Wilbon will remain a leading authority for the NBA on ESPN while maintaining the flexibility to increase his in-studio appearances on our important Pardon The Interruption franchise.”

Collins has quite the resume on the court.  He served eleven years as a head coach in the NBA, most recently with the Philadelphia 76ers.  He reached the NBA playoffs seven times.  As a player, he played a combined eight seasons in the ABA and NBA and is a four-time All-Star.  His new deal with ESPN isn’t his first stint in front of the camera.  He was a contributor to NBC’s NBA game coverage and Olympics coverage and has also served as a game analyst for Turner Sports.  He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.  He received the prestigious Curt Gowdy Media Award in his induction.

NBA Countdown debuts Friday, November 1st at 7pm ET during a one-hour pre-game broadcast before ESPN’s season-opening doubleheader.  The doubleheader kicks off at 8pm with a matchup of last season’s NBA Champion Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets.  The second game features the San Antonio Spurs, last season’s runners-up taking on the Los Angeles Lakers.  That game is currently scheduled for a 10pm ET broadcast.

More information on this and all things NBA is available online at http://www.facebook.com/NBAonESPN and http://espn.go.com/nba.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.