This piece was originally published in January 2015
Rest In Peace to one of the true innovators of sports broadcasting, whose impact meant a broadening of style and humanity that made following sports more fun and more diverse while inspiring countless voices to come, including the ones we all use at Regal Radio.
Being face to face with Stuart Scott, who died Sunday morning at the age of 49 due to complications from cancer, as I last did on the floor at the convention center in Tampa in 2009, is a surreal thing. This was a guy who leapt out of the TV screen every time you saw him but it was still a trip to be around him — his trusty glasses framing the recognizable face and lazy eye, suit game on point as if he’s always ready to do a remote shoot (guess he had to be).
To be born and come of age in the ESPN era and to follow sports faithfully is to ensure that watching “SportsCenter” is one of the prime viewing experiences of your life — I’ve probably spent more time watching it than anything else in my life outside of “The Simpsons” — so that means that I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time watching Stuart Scott and since the first “boo-yah!” I’ve been down.
In fact, I’d be willing to say that I learned of the whole phenomenon of one side of a pillow being cooler than the other side because of him saying it on TV. Had to have been about 10 or 11 the first time I heard it, prior to Stuart Scott that type of bedtime intuition eluded me. Many subsequent rests have been enhanced because of this man.
To be real, today’s news hit hard. I had the pleasure to be in the presence of many of his admirers and colleagues in Boston this past summer for ESPN’s mentor breakfast, a continued affair it hosts as part of the National Association of Black Journalists’ yearly conventions.
Scott was scheduled to deliver an address at the breakfast, which he’s done to great effect many years prior, but this time it wasn’t to happen due to needed chemotherapy treatment. It was only days after his accepting the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPY’s, which you can see above, a moment whose indelibility was set in stone today. Back to that day: he was missed to say the least, and all of us in the ballroom expressed as such and wished him our best in a panoramic video shot by Jemele Hill and Jay Harris.
Knowing now that that would have been my last chance to meet Stuart Scott ever makes that moment instantly bitter sweet. Now I can only imagine waiting in a long line to shake up with him along with a dozen or two other young and aspiring journalists and spend a few moments at his attention, to tell him of the exploits I’m taking part in in his home town of Chicago and hopefully glean some sort of encouragement or motivation from him, which I’m sure he would have provided in full.
Stuart Scott never had a problem giving his all and he never had a problem showing out or showing up. Even when he really couldn’t, like in Boston, his presence remained big. A legacy of entertaining and informing follows him and now it will stand wherever people influenced by Stuart Scott occupy — in studios, journalist gatherings, big games and elsewhere. No “boo-yah!” will ever be heard the same again.
Stuart Scott dies at age of 49 (ESPN)
Boo-Ya: How Stuart Scott Taught ESPN That Black Culture Matters (Think Progress)
President Obama: ‘I will miss Stuart Scott’ (Washington Post)
Thank You Stu (The Shadow League)
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