Dipsy-doo-slam-dunkaroo Hall of Famer?

The Flip Side

December 27, 2004

Dick Vitale has a $4 million, nearly 13,000-square-foot home in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. He has a Lexus and a Mercedes bearing the license plates "ESPN 79" and "T-O BABY." He has a private jet.

And maybe you think he has an annoying voice.

But he's undeniably popular and perhaps as big a name as any college basketball coach or player he talks about on ESPN.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says Vitale belongs in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

"As a contributor to the game, he deserves to be in," Krzyzewski told the Los Angeles Times. "He basically has been probably the game's biggest promoter in the last decade."

His enthusiasm is no act, say those who know him.

"Anybody who thinks he's putting on an act is crazy," Krzyzewski said. "He does get that excited. He's speaking from his heart."

If you happen to run into him, don't be afraid to ask for an autograph.

Asked by the Times to consider a day when he might go about his business without being asked to sign anything, Vitale said: "I'd run around saying, `Please, ask me for my autograph or to take a picture! I used to be Dickie V!'"

Michael Drucker wants the shirt off your back.

Well, actually, he wants the shirt before it gets on your back. If it's unlicensed, that is. The shirt, not your back.

Drucker works for the Collegiate Licensing Company, and his job is to catch unlicensed merchandise - T-shirts, caps and the like - being sold at bowl games.

"My motto is: `One unlicensed T-shirt that's confiscated is a sale of a licensed piece of merchandise,'" Drucker, vice president of Collegiate Licensing, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

As mottoes go, that may rank below "Loose lips sink ships," but the guy isn't in the motto-writing biz, after all.

Drucker will be at the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day, keeping an eye out for counterfeit goods.

"On any given year during the Rose Bowl," Drucker said, "we confiscate, with the sheriffs and the police department in Pasadena, roughly 4,000 to 5,000 pieces in a 24- to 30-hour period.

"Most of the money that's generated from the sale of licensed merchandise goes back to the schools to support scholarship funds, both academic and athletic. Not a lot of businesses can claim that the dollars they generate go back to such a great cause. In my opinion, that's why what I do is so important."

Plus, a Michigan fan could end up with a cap that says "Woolvereens."

A movie on Peyton Manning? ESPN. com speculates that it's possible and even offers up some possibilities for casting of the quarterback.

Among the suggestions: Damon Wayans, James Van Der Beek, Jamie Foxx and Keanu Reeves. They've all portrayed football players in movies.

Not to try to steal the thunder of this page's venerable quiz, but match the actor with his football-role movie: Varsity Blues, The Last Boy Scout, The Replacements and Any Given Sunday. Answer tomorrow.

On second thought, we won't make you wait: Wayans, Boy Scout; Van Der Beek, Blues; Foxx, Sunday; Reeves, Replacements.

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