It was 1996, I was a freshman wandering around a college campus with no clue what I wanted to do or be. I knew three things: I loved sports, girls, and hip hop; yes in that order. I was in the quad and ESPN was on some show called SportsCenter. Well, they had this smooth brother on the show who just had that “it” factor. First off, I was not used to seeing people who looked like me on television let alone on sports programming. I skipped my next two classes to watch the replay of the show. I was that hooked; the show was just that good, and that’s the day I knew I wanted to be a sportscaster.
No one then, or now, could match my passion for sports or knew the stats like me. Not to brag, but I can name the starting Quarterback for every NFL team and the Running back – then and now. Plus, I know almost the entire starting five for all the NBA teams, but this isn’t about me…
Stuart Scott was a hero to me, as I’m sure he was to many other people regardless of color or gender. His camera swag was off the charts, not to mention his one-liners and zingers we grew up with listening to. My father was a pastor so hearing can “Can I get a witness from the congregation?” or “The Lord said you got to rise up!” was especially funny! As a hiphop-head, the ODB references, “BooYAH”, or my favorite, “As cool as the other side of the pillow,” were classic. The man was a trailblazer in the industry, interviewing Tiger Woods one day and Bill Clinton the next.
After college I went to broadcasting school still wanting my moment to be on SportsCenter. God put me on another path, but the love of sports never went away. And with NBS it is back with a vengeance. When I heard Stuart Scott had cancer I was shocked. My reaction ranged from ‘no it can’t be,’ to ‘oh he will be beat it and be fine.’
Cancer of the appendix is the name of the bastard that got my man in 2007. He beat it, and what was awesome was he allowed us all to see it; sharing his story for all. The cancer went into remission then came back in 2011 and 2013. He went to work STILL grinding and STILL taking care of his family. Who takes up p90X and MMA fighting during all of this? He did, never wanting to know what stage of cancer he was in. His Jimmy V award for his ongoing battle with cancer was well deserved, and the video showing what he was going through was powerful. I wonder how many people with cancer saw that and thought to themselves, ‘I can make it.’ How many people who lost or are losing someone to this God awful disease felt a little comfort or even drive to help that loved one or friend?
Even though I never worked for ESPN, I think it’s safe to say not one of the young up and coming talent wasn’t helped in or mentored by him in some form. For a generation of kids who grew up in the 90’s early 2000’s he was US, he talked like us, enjoyed the same music, and let us know that if you work hard and treat people the right way BIG things will happen. Part of me feels like I lost a family member yesterday. Famous people die all the time, but this feels different. I saved the best Stu line for last, “Holla at a playa, when you see him in the streets!”