From Chris Berman to Stephen A. Smith, there are certain names and faces that, as a sports fan, you just recognize. Iconic names. Consistent names. Important names. Names you watch on Sundays eating nachos, in the mornings with a bowl of cereal, streaming live while procrastinating, and in anticipation of your favorite sporting events.
Stuart Scott is one of those names. He was one of the iconic faces of ESPN’s SportsCenter, a frequenter of hip-hop music videos and one of the most talented, entertaining broadcasters of his time.
Chances are, you knew that already. Chances are when you think of Stuart Scott, you immediately remember your favorite “This is SportsCenter” commercial featuring Scott’s impeccable comedic timing. Chances are you have a favorite catch phrase. And chances are you miss him.
On the day after what would have been Scott’s 52nd birthday–he lost a hard-fought battle to cancer in 2015–I’d like to pay tribute to Stuart Scott by explaining what he meant to me.
Everyone knows that Scott was not only a talented broadcaster, but also an incredibly humble, honorable person. That in it of itself deserves mention, recognition, memorialization.
But to me, the most memorable trait about Stuart Scott was his fearless, unique broadcasting style. He was unafraid to tap the culture of colloquial hip-hop and infuse it into his broadcasting–a decision that, unfortunately, received abundant and often racially-charged criticism. But Scott did not sacrifice his style for the haters; he persevered.
He got on the air and talked sports not as if he were on camera, but as if he were sitting on his couch watching highlights with his friends. He was unafraid to be colloquial, and he did not censor himself for sensitive, critical audiences. In this way, Scott birthed a totally fresh, new broadcasting style.
From his battle with cancer, to his humility, to his talent and style, there are so many reasons to be grateful for what Scott has given to the sports world.
My favorite part of Scott’s legacy, however, is not his legacy at all–not the product he left behind, but the journey he took to get there. The thing about Stuart Scott that I admire above all is the image of a man paving a new path on his own. Fielding criticism. Sticking to his persona. Being proud of his product that he unapologetically produced every day for his entire career.
What I will remember Stuart Scott for is his courage when standing alone.