Steve Wulf at ESPN.com wrote a long piece on Scott’s career. Definitely worth a read in learning about his journey.
His career path took him from Florence to Raleigh, North Carolina, to Orlando, Florida, and in his pre-ESPN clips, you can feel his energy, hear his music and sense his on-camera charisma. At WESH, the NBC affiliate in Orlando, he first met ESPN producer Gus Ramsey, who was beginning his own career. Says Ramsey, “You knew the second he walked in the door that it was a pit stop, and that he was gonna be this big star somewhere someday. He went out and did a piece on the rodeo, and he nailed it just like he would nail the NBA Finals for ESPN.”
He first met ESPN anchor Chris Berman in Tampa, Florida. “He stuck out his hand and said, ‘One day I look forward to working with you,'” Berman said. “And I said, ‘Well, I tell you what, we’ll save you a seat.’ And I’m really thrilled that he was right on. [Later] I said, ‘Stu, maybe you were the Swami.'”
Richard Deitsch at SI.com had a nice piece on the producers who did Scott’s tribute on ESPN Sunday.
They all talked about what it would mean if the piece ever aired. It meant their friend and colleague was dead. But the small group of ESPN staffers who worked on the feature honoring the life of Stuart Scott believed they owed it to their colleague to produce something with love and care if that awful day ever came.
On Sunday the awful day came when Scott passed away from cancer at the too-damn-young age of 49. A popular anchor on ESPN for two decades, the network ran a 14-minute feature on his life and career, a piece that appropriately first aired on SportsCenter, the show that gave life to his television fame.
The video obit, a beautiful, moving tribute that should be watched and shared, was completed months ago. ESPN feature producers Mike Leber, Miriam Greenfield and Denny Wolfe, the point people for the project, began working on it shortly after Scott’s emotional speech at the ESPYs last July 16, when the anchor amplified how difficult his cancer had hit him. The group completed the feature on September 18 and silently hoped the original would stay buried in Leber’s desk forever.
“All of the people interviewed for the piece, and all those working on it, we all said at one point during the process that we hoped this would sit on the shelf for a long time,” Leber told SI.com on Sunday afternoon. “It was something that nobody wanted to think about or talk about but to pay the proper tribute, we knew we had to do it.”
Richard Sandomir in the New York Times:
Scott joined ESPN in 1993 for the beginning of its first spinoff network, ESPN2, but he soon moved to “SportsCenter,” which had already developed stars like Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, Chris Berman, Robin Roberts and Bob Ley. Scott became defined as much for his energy, wit and stylish wardrobe as for his arsenal of catchphrases.
“Stuart brought a different, unique sensibility to ‘SportsCenter,’ ” said James Andrew Miller, an author of “Those Guys Have All the Fun,” an oral history of ESPN. “He invented his own style, and in doing so, he grew the audience. He was easily one of the most influential personalities in ESPN history.”
Bob Raissman in the New York Daily News:
For the very way Stuart Scott presented himself, and the flair in which he delivered the word, not only reflected the joy and enthusiasm he had for his work, but entertained and provided happiness for all the eyeballs peeping in from the other side of the television screen.
That’s what’s known as showmanship. We didn’t understand every bit of jargon exiting Scott’s mouth. And even though his presentation moved us to take issue with him, it never turned us off, never made us stop watching. As a performer, even on the smallest of screens, he could be mesmerizing. More importantly he was likeable.
Chad Finn in the Boston Globe:
(Keyshawn) Johnson remembered the advice Scott gave him when he joined ESPN. “[He told me] don’t change who I was. Be exactly who I was supposed to be. Looking at him, knowing that he was able to bring that hip-hop culture, that urban feel, to television sports broadcasting, something that’s never been done before, gave me the hope that I didn’t have to be some corporate guy in a white shirt and red tie and sit there and talk a certain way.”
Johnson paused, wiping away tears.
“I’m trying to find words,” he said.
“You did it,’’ said Berman. “You all did it.”
J.A. Adande at ESPN.com:
He could smoothly follow a producer’s instructions through the earpiece and mentally prepare for the next segment while speaking on the current topic. Or he could call an audible and guide the conversation in a direction he thought best. And although he was known for bringing hip-hop vernacular to ESPN, he took pride in packing more information than anyone else into each highlight. Go back and watch the clips, only this time ignore the sayings and count the number of facts.
You might be surprised at how low-key he could be off air. The most extreme example came once when he was on the set quietly talking on his phone between brief update segments, a steady flow of soft “Yeah, yeah” until the camera was hot; he said “Hold on, hold on,” put the phone down and ramped up the decibels:
“STUART SCOTT HERE WITH THIS ‘SPORTSCENTER’ UPDATE …”
ESPN gathered a collection of Twitter reaction to Scott: