The world of sports broadcasting (and sports itself) lost one of its pioneers on Sunday. Sadly, Stuart Scott passed away after his lengthy battle with cancer, one that he stirringly detailed in his speech at this past July’s ESPYs. It was a moving moment that highlighted the “never give in, never give up” attitude that he brought to the broadcast booth; and according to his peers and contemporaries, lived each and every day.
Prior to gaining national notoriety and acclaim, Scott was an anchor at WESH, right here in Orlando. He spent three-years covering local sports in town, before ascending to ESPN to change the face—and personality—of the network forever. He brought with him a gregarious broadcast style, his infectious smile and a unique set of vernacular and catch-phrases, previously absent in the lexicon of the tight-collared talking-heads that populate national sports desks.
“Cooler than the other side of the pillow” was one of them, and that phrase he heaped onto so many athletes over the years might be best reserved to describe him. A man comprised of equal parts hip-hop swagger, sports knowledge and undeniable charisma, he, as former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick put it, “Didn’t just push the envelope, he bulldozed it.”
Stuart’s star shined brightest when he was being himself—embracing his inner-nature that many a program director attempted to limit—and sports fans everywhere were beneficiaries of the character that he refused to hide, and instead chose to share.
Before his tragic and untimely passing, he wanted to ensure that the world knew that those who died from cancer did not lose their battles, but in his words, “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
Two days after Stuart Scott’s death, we mourn the passing of one of the media’s biggest luminaries—a trailblazer, an innovator, and the man who truly made sports broadcasting cool.