Dick Vitale is a Jersey icon. He’s always full of positive vibes that resonate to anyone within ear shot. He’s Jersey through and through, born in Passaic, grew up in East Rutherford, graduated from Seton Hall and got his Masters degree at William Patterson.

Dick Vitale attacked the game of basketball with the same reverence of how he lives his life. He encouraged, coached and mentored his players starting with his first coaching job at an elementary school in Garfield, going on to coach at Rutgers, University of Detroit, then going on to coach the Detroit Pistons in the NBA.

After his career with the Pistons he went on to broadcasting college basketball on ESPN, having the distinction of broadcasting the first college basketball game on ESPN in 1979, Wisconsin vs. DePaul.

Dick Vitale is in the New Jersey Hall of Fame because he is made of Jersey grit, heart and soul. Dick was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame; he’s in the Little League Hall of Excellence and the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.

I met Dick Vitale when he was the key speaker at a charity awards dinner where I was being honored along with CBS broadcasting legend Bill Rafferty. Dick made it a point to come over to me just to meet me and get to know me.

I was floored that this living legend took the time to introduce himself and get to know me. After our 25 minute conversation I felt that I had known him for years. He was that kind of a guy and it was an honor to speak with him and share the dais with Bill Rafferty and Dick Vitale, two legends in the business and two great men.

Dick Vitale turned 81 in June. He is this country's youngest 81 year old never losing a step, always inspiring others and helping those in need through his relentless charity work. His catch phrase is “Awesome Baby” and he is. Please check out his motivational video message on this page. It’s so awesome baby, just like Dick Vitale.

55 baseball players from NJ (that Joe V could find stock photos of)

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