“When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” -Stuart Scott
At the young age of 49, we lost our beloved Stuart Scott to cancer–a battle that claimed close to 600,000 lives in 2014. The celebrated ESPN and ABC Sports anchor rose to prominence on ESPN’s Sportscenter in 1993; he transcended sports, and for two decades, Americans bore witness to his groundbreaking ability to meticulously coalesce Hip Hop language and mannerisms to the sports broadcasting profession. Professional. Class. He merged a distinct voice without ever alienating his audience.
His major accomplishments are worthy of a long academic study; perhaps a study on how one man vastly contributed to the cultural lexicon of sports media amidst an expected push back to what he brought to the proverbial table. He was well spoken. His outgoing demeanor, strong interpersonal skills outshined his Hip Hop & explicit African-American nuances and casual banter. It was that outshining that kept him from being solely defined by that Hip Hop generational edge. He was a stern professional; his entire repertoire brought ESPN a whole new audience, rhythm and look.
We give thanks to ESPN for giving him the carte blanche to engage the audience through his unwavering authenticity, and despite Americans insatiable appetite for the race narrative (I even feel awkward speaking on it in regard to his legacy), it was glaringly clear that he transcended sports and race. He was unapologetically himself.
There are men who exist in this world for the sole purpose of making millions of people satisfied with life, and to a large extent, he was that man.
His enthusiasm and voice radiated through the screen; and suddenly, sports didn’t feel like a mere escapism anymore. It felt like a conversation– a conversation about human feat and competition, triumphs and failures.
Outside of his contributions to sports vernacular, catchphrases like “Boo-Yah” or “cool as the other side of the pillow,” he was a devoted family man—he embodied that lovely reputation for being a die-hard father to his two daughters.
A sentiment shared between him and the then Senator Barack Obama during an interview in 2008.
A sentiment he shared with the world during his brilliant speech while receiving the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs.
It’s now time for an ESPY award under his name, which will teach children and young adults to be family oriented, demonstrate class, be professional, and perhaps most importantly for the millennial, be the authentic you.