Sunday, January 4, 2015

Remembering Stuart Scott

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Stuart Scott, one of the true legends and innovators of sports media, died this morning after a seven-year battle with cancer.

As a life-long sports fan who came up watching the early to mid 90s editions of SportsCenter, I can tell you that Stuart Scott was sports.

Every time Jordan threw down a dunk, every time Tiger sank a putt, every time Favre threw a pass into triple-coverage that was somehow caught, Scott was there with the perfect catch phrase.

"That must be jam, cause jelly don't shake like that… As cool as the other side of the pillow… Can I get a witness from the congregation?!"

He wasn't the first anchor to blend pop culture and sports, but he was probably the best. My man straight dropped 2pac and Biggie quotes for white kids every morning like it was nobody's business!

More than anything, when you talked about sports, you just wanted to sound as cool as Stuart Scott.

"Don't playa hate, congratulate!"

Scott will go down as one of the greatest African American figures in sports media, and rightfully so, but he should also be remembered as someone who changed the landscape for all media in America.

In many ways, Scott was a cross-over star at the best possible time. Hip-hop and R&B were just hitting the mainstream, and he was the perfect candidate to blend elements of that culture with established sports cliches and corny lines.

"I put my bat up on your pitch, and I hit, I hit, I hit."

While many older fans think of longtime stars like Chris Berman as the face of ESPN, it will always be Scott for my generation. The man who not only loved sports, but made them hip. He gave every black kid hope that they could make it in a world dominated by white faces, and white kids just thought he was the coolest.

Basically, he was ESPN's Lando Calrissian.

Throughout his career, Scott hosted numerous shows on ESPN, including his legendary SportsCenter broadcasts with the likes of Rich Eisen, Keith Olberman and Dan Patrick.

He also hosted several NBA and NFL specific shows, and hosted ESPN's coverage of some of the sports world's marquee events, including the NBA Finals and Monday Night Football. My favorite work of his that everybody seems to have forgotten was his role as sports' Alex Trebek on the short-lived trivia show "Stump the Schwab."

Lately Scott has become known for his courageous battle with cancer. At last July's ESPY Awards he delivered a speech that will likely go down as his most memorable television moment. Discussing his struggle with the disease he knew would ultimately take his life, Scott remained as strong and as cool as ever.

"When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer," Scott said. "You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live."

And that wasn't all talk. Up until the very end he was bringing smiles and laughs to millions, despite the toll the disease itself and numerous rounds of chemotherapy were taking on his body. The manner in which he lived was most definitely inspiring.

Today we can surely say that Stuart Scott beat cancer.

No comments :