This morning, my husband held me as I cried. I cried for someone I had never met but had been watching on TV for most of my life. I couldn’t believe it! It’s hard to accept that Stuart Scott had passed away. If you’re a sports fan, this is terribly sad news. The man was iconic, he was the face of ESPN’s SportsCenter and the reason why you watched the show. We loved watching him on Monday Night Countdown with his game predictions and his commentating on NBA games. If you’re not a sports fan, then you’re probably asking “who is this guy?” It’s hard to describe someone I have never met or doesn’t even know who I am but I can tell you about how he changed the world of sports and the inspiration he showed us all with his battle for cancer.
I took a liking to Stuart Scott during junior high. I didn’t have cable growing up but my grandparents did. I loved watching SportsCenter at their house and would make sure it was the broadcast that Stuart Scott was going to be on. To be frank, he was the first black sports broadcaster I had ever seen. I was so impressed that he, a black man, could be on a show as iconic as SportsCenter, the mothership of all sports shows. Over the years, I realized there was a deeper reason why I loved watching him on the air other than the fact he was black. Stuart Scott was himself. He never tried to fit the stereotypical sports broadcaster type or try to fit in with his colleague or peers. He was himself and he was going to say what made him feel comfortable. And his audience loved him for that. One of my favorite memories of Stuart Scott was watching a broadcast when he played 1 on 1 basketball with President Obama. I never knew he had game (that surprised me) but that he was just himself around the President. And yes, he did play to win! 🙂
What we didn’t know was that Stuart Scott had been battling cancer since 2007. After going through numerous surgeries and chemotherapy, Stuart Scott thought he had won the battle but in 2011, his cancer came back more severe than before. The same vicious cycle repeated in 2013 when his cancer came back again. All the while, Stuart Scott kept fighting. He even started training in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as a symbolic way to keep himself mentally and physically battling every day. Behind the scenes, his colleagues and family knew how hard it was for him to continue his passion of broadcasting. Us, his audience, never knew. He held it together and nailed it for us. In 2014, he won the Jimmy V Perseverance Award. His speech is hailed as one of the greatest inspirational speeches ever given. The quote that you’re seeing over and over on social media, “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”, is the a quote from that inspirational speech given by Stuart Scott.
So, who is Stuart Scott? To some, he is one of the best sports broadcasters that changed the industry by showing that it’s ok to be yourself. To others, he was a great man who loved his daughters and inspired the people around him, including Robin Roberts. To me, he was a man that brought a new perspective to sports, someone who should be hailed and respected by ushering a new way of delivering sports news to the public, and always an inspiration to us all to never stop fighting and believing. Stuart Scott will always be “as cool as the other side of the pillow.”
Check out the video above,”Stuart Scott’s Legacy”, a special tribute to Stuart Scott by ESPN.