Sarasota, Florida -- Dick Vitale is 72 years old and comes from a very large family. Each of his parents had nine brothers and sisters.
He credits his parents for his success, "I learned at my dinner table about loyalty about love about togetherness things that I think are vital in life."
Vitale's career is a rich and colorful one. It's hard to believe, but he started out as a teacher and thought about one day becoming a principal until his hoop dreams came true.
"Think about this: 1970, I'm teaching 6th grade and I'm coaching high school. By 77-78 I'm coaching in the NBA as a head coach," said Vitale.
He was named Head Coach of the Detroit Pistons for the 1978-79 season. "It just took off, bam! A boy... a ball... a dream.. and all of a sudden, my life changed."
It changed when the Pistons let him go. Vitale landed with ESPN after that, and has been there for more than three decades.
He calls it a big win, "I can't run. I can't jump. I can't shoot. I got a body of linguine. Why am I in 10 Hall of Fames? 'Cause it's simple: passion, enthusiasm, energy."
And for the last six years, Dickie V has turned his energy, to raising millions for cancer research. His inspiration? A young girl he met in his Lakewood Ranch neighborhood several years ago.
Photos of Dick Vitale Over the Years
He explained, she lost her battle with cancer, "The most beautiful precious little thing. I vowed right then that I would try to help anyway I can, because no child should be doing chemotherapy, radiation. They should be playing."
And with the 7th annual Dick Vitale Gala to be held May 18th, this man hopes to make a difference by raising a million dollars with the help of many famous faces and friends.
"Cancer affects all, whether you're rich, whether you're poor. Whether you're black, whether you're white. It will bring you to your knees and we must work as a team to raise dollars. The bottom line is people have been so good to me, I want to give back," said the basketball great.
The 7th Annual Dick Vitale Gala benefiting The V Foundation for Cancer Research takes place on May 18 at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. Hosted by ESPN's John Saunders, the Gala will honor former Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams, Villanova head men's basketball coach Jay Wright and coaching legend Lou Holtz.
For a complete list of celebrities that will be in attendance please click here.