I wanted to share a few more tributes to Stuart Scott.
This Keith Olbermann clip actually has footage of Scott’s debut with the network in 1993.
Michael Wilbon, writing at ESPN.com, recalls his old friend in a poignant piece.
So here’s what Stuart Scott’s teammates could see that viewers couldn’t. They couldn’t see him suffer through a chemotherapy session at, say, 10 a.m., catch a quick nap and maybe a small bite, put himself through a kickboxing class or some other rigorous physical routine in an attempt to strengthen his body for its fight with cancer, show up at the studio to prepare for a Friday night NBA doubleheader that might require us to work until 1 a.m., and plow right through the evening without so much as a bad word for or to anybody.
That scenario, or something like it, played out way too often during the last seven years of Stuart’s 49. He’d close his eyes during the commercial breaks at times. There were trips to the bathroom that we knew included violent illness. There’s not a person in the Bristol studios who didn’t say at some point, “Stuart, seriously, you shouldn’t work tonight,” and his response pretty damn frequently was: “Bro, I’m good.”
And he was … to the last drop.
I was brought up in a buttoned-up world of traditional journalism where the person reporting/commenting/analyzing didn’t call attention to himself. Stuart, very deliberately and without much fear, was in the process of taking us to a new world of sports coverage, one where you let your emotion come pouring out much of the time, where personality would infuse the coverage. It wasn’t just that a Scott-delivered story sounded “blacker” — and it did, it sounded younger, and hipper, had greater edge and connected with an entire population of viewers who had been ignored. Not every reference to music needed to be the Beatles or Rolling Stones, not for those of us who preferred Earth, Wind & Fire or Chuck D. More than anybody working then or now, Stuart Scott changed the very language used to discuss sports every day. He updated it, freshened it, made it more inclusive. And he took hell for it.
How nerdy is it, looking back, to have felt that Stuart was some kind of pioneer for simply wanting to be himself on television? But he was exactly that, and because that evolution took the better part of 20 years, there is now an entire generation of young media folks, black and white, male and female, who don’t feel the need to conform, and that is an enormous and admirable part of his professional legacy.