For 23 years Dick Vitale has worked at ESPN as a college
basketball analyst, and he's doing awesome, baby! Just ask him.
We did, and Vitale's abridged answers follow.
SI: Almost two years ago an off-duty fireman had to use the
Heimlich maneuver on you at a Devil Rays game. What happened?
Vitale: I was having dinner at their restaurant. I was choking
and turning colors. He came and gave me a bear hug. Beautiful
guy, too. I met Mr. Heimlich, by the way. He's in Cincinnati.
SI: Of all your pet phrases, do you have a favorite?
Vitale: I like "diaper dandy." A lot of parents bring their
babies to me and say, "Take a picture with him, Dickie V. He's a
real diaper dandy!"
SI: Is your seven-month-old granddaughter a diaper dandy?
Vitale: She's definitely a diaper dandy. She's the joy of my
life. I'm 62, but I'm acting 12. They just came out with a Dickie
V bobblehead doll. Did you see it?
SI: Are you better looking than the bobblehead doll?
Vitale: The doll is better looking because I'm one of the ugliest
suckers in America.
SI: Digger Phelps contemplated running for president in 2000. Do
you wish that he'd won?
Vitale: He told me he was going to make me the ambassador to
Italy. There was only one little problem--he didn't get the nod,
SI: Who would win a free-throw-shooting contest: you or Billy
Vitale: It would be a home run for me. I hit 17 in a row the
other day wearing shoes, a shirt and a tie. Tell Shaq he'd
better see me, man.
SI: What was it like to work with Pauly Shore in Jury Duty?
Vitale: He's a member of my all-wacko team. I don't think he even
knew who I was.
SI: If Bob Knight and Coach K went into a dark alley, who would
make it out?
Vitale: Knowing both guys, you'd see nothing but hugs, a love
SI: Finally, who's your favorite saint?
Vitale: St. Jude the miracle worker, without a doubt. I carry
St. Jude in my left pocket every day. If I lose the card, it's
COLOR PHOTO: RICH ARDEN/ESPN