Stuart Scott, ESPN-great, dies at age 49

Stuart Scott, one of sports broadcasting’s most notable on-air personalities died Jan. 4 after a 7-year battle with cancer.

In 2007, Scott went to the hospital for a severe stomach ache. Doctors discovered that it was his appendix. After surgery, his physicians deemed that it might be cancerous, unfortunately they were correct. That diagnosis triggered many rounds of chemotherapy treatment before his cancer went into remission. However, he was re-diagnosed in 2011 and 2013.

At the 2014 ESPYs, he was awarded the Jimmy V perseverance award. Scott delivered a moving acceptance speech that allowed him to speak candidly about his life. Not only did he give insight to his ups and downs with the disease, but he also opened a private window that gave the public a look into his relationship with his teenage daughters, Taelor and Sydni. In that speech, he made a profound statement that echoed how he had decided to fight for his life.

“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live,” said Scott.

Born in Chicago, but raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Scott attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he graduated in 1987 with a degree in speech communication. While in attendance he was very active on campus, participating in various organizations such as Greek fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha and student media out- lets such as WXYC.

After years of diligent work, Scott started his ESPN career in 1993 on ESPN2; a station created to appeal to a younger audience. Whether they knew it or not, producers were right on the money when selecting Scott as the station’s face. Scott brought a unique flavor to ESPN by integrating hip hop culture into sports casting; something previously unseen. He brought simplicity and conversationalism to the network by speaking on air as a fan. This appealed to other demographics that ESPN had not been able to reach.

Grambling student and avid sports fan Aaron Williams remembers Scott as a pioneer and sports legend. According to him, he was mostly exposed to Scott’s work as he reported during the era of Michael Jordan, one of history’s most flavorful athletes. Williams thinks Scott’s brand of broadcasting used a more hip hop vibe to connect with the African American masses that watched Jordan in his prime.

“When you saw Stuart Scott it was like ‘wow, we made it.’ He was well-spoken, funny, and gave back to the community. He was a good person and we got to know him through his work. It was truly a sad day when he passed,” said Williams.

During his stint, he coined many well-known phrases such as “cooler than the other side of the pillow”, “hollah” and the ever popular “boo-yah”. In a Jan. 6 game versus Golden State, Kevin Durant wore game shoes on which he had penned a special tribute in appreciation for the fallen sports authority. The message simply read “Boo-yah, RIP the Great Stuart Scott,” proof that Scott’s life as an inno- vator and conqueror touched the lives at many, one game at a time.