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Dick Vitale Memorializes Late ESPN Colleague Jim Valvano In ESPYs Speech

“Jimmy’s dream was to beat cancer. But we must do it because it doesn’t discriminate. It comes after all.”

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Dick Vitale was the rightful recipient of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance Wednesday night at the annual ESPY Awards. He used his time on stage to thank and honor his friend and former colleague Jim Valvano, for whom the award is named.

Valvano’s speech at the inaugural ESPY ceremony in 1993 is credited with putting the event on the map. It is also the moment that the former NC State basketball coach and ESPN launched the Jimmy V Foundation, which raises money for cancer research.

“When he got up on that stage I was mesmerized, blown away as he electrified the nation,” Vitale told the crowd on Wednesday night.

Since its launch, the Jimmy V Foundation has raised over $300 million. Vitale told the crowd that the number is impressive and worth celebrating, but it isn’t enough.

“We are not going to stop, stop chasing the dream of raising dollars,” he said. “Jimmy’s dream was to beat cancer. But we must do it because it doesn’t discriminate. It comes after all.”

Dick Vitale missed the majority of the last college basketball season as he battled a number of ailments. He survived both lymphoma and melanoma and also was left silent for weeks as he recovered from surgery to treat dysplasia and ulcerated lesions on his vocal cords.

Fans and colleagues shared well-wishes, tributes, and messages of support with Dickie V during that time. He acknowledged that when you spend as much time in the hospital as he did, it is that kind of support that motivates you to keep going and to get well.

He closed his speech by asking anyone that had been personally affected by cancer in some way to stand up. With the vast majority of people in the room standing, Vitale told the audience that cancer can be devastating and it clearly does not discriminate.

“There’s only one way to beat it, my friends, we have to raise dollars and give oncologists a fighting chance.”

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Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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