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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dick Vitale's Living a Dream

Dick Vitale's Living a Dream: Reflections on 25 Years Sitting in the Best Seat in the HouseDick Vitale's Living a Dream: Reflections on 25 Years Sitting in the Best Seat in the House by Dick Vitale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from an Express Employment seminar.

Yo, it's Dickie V, baby! He beat the ziggy and became a PTPer at ESPN! It's awesome, baby!

Anyone who understands that statement has heard Dick Vitale call games on ESPN and ABC. He first came on the network in 1979, and has been there ever since. He wrote this book in 2003 to celebrate his 25th anniversary on ESPN. Even he recognizes that he wouldn't have been hired by any other network. He didn't fit the mold. Ironically, he probably wouldn't be hired at ESPN today. Everyone is buttoned down. Dick Vitale is an entertainer. Someone once said, "I didn't talk to Dick Vitale for 6 months. I didn't want to interrupt him." Reading this book 11 years later, I noticed some things that were very prescient. He has an entire chapter on LeBron James, talking about what kind of an impact he would have on the NBA. As I was reading this, ESPN had 2 networks simultaneously discussing his decision to return to Cleveland. (It might have been 3, but I don't get ESPNEWS.) Dickie V got that one right. He wasn't so good at predicting other things, though. On page 219 he says, "[T]he greatest role models are those who have done things the right way an made good decisions their entire lives--baseball stars like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez[.]" If he were writing that today, A-Rod wouldn't be on there.

He also laments a lot of the changes in college basketball, especially players who opted to skip college and go straight to the NBA. He wrote this before the one and done rule, which states that a player can't enter the draft until after his first year in college. This was also before the lawsuit by Ed O'Bannon and other former college players saying that they are owed money for the NCAA's use of their names and likenesses in video games and other marketing materials. He would have a lot to say about that. He does talk about his personal life, and how things have worked out for him and his family. A bit dated, but all in all a good book.

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