KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale shared on his social media that Tennessee men's basketball head coach Rick Barnes sends him texts of prayers every day while Vitale battles through cancer,
Barnes explained why he does so in a press conference on Monday afternoon.
"We all know Dick Vitale has impacted a lot of lives," Barnes said. "When you think about what he has done for college basketball, the enthusiasm, the passion, once he went on air. He has been a huge contributor to our game. That's why he is in the National Basketball Hall of Fame. He's had an impact just like any of the great players have had."
Vitale has been doing a lot for those with cancer long before he had it, as his long-time friend and former college basketball head coach Jim Valvano died because of cancer.
Vitale holds a gala every year to raise money for cancer.
"His involvement and what he's done for cancer is remarkable," Barnes said. He's impacted so many lives. I think God is using him in a great way."
Barnes said ever since he started texting Vitale, it has been uplifting for him too.
"From the time I started texting him a prayer every day I said it has been good for me because it has given me a chance to spend even more alone time with the Lord," he said.
He's happy to do all of this for a legend in college basketball.
"I really have great admiration for Dick," Barnes said. "He's a fighter right now. He's fighting a battle he has fought for so many people and like I said he's been an inspiration to a lot of people. Our conversations as of late have impacted me as of late as much as they've impacted him."