ESPN personality Stuart Scott lost his courageous battle against cancer on Sunday, dying at the age of 49.
His was a distinct personality and voice in the often cliche-ridden world of sportscasting and many enjoyed his singular vocabulary when analyzing replays:
1. “Like gravy on a biscuit, it’s all good!”
Scott accompanies this quote with a player having a career day or when a player makes a smart play.
2. “And the Lord said you’ve got to rise up!”
Bryce Harper hits a homerun as a rookie, giving the Washington Nationals the lead after trailing the Atlanta Braves at home.
3. “See, what had happened was…”
This is amongst Stuart Scott’s popular references. During the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals between the Pistons and Pacers, he teased Rasheed Wallace after throwing up an air ball from the 3 point line.
4. “Vlade Daddi, he likes to party, he don’t cause trouble, he don’t bother nobody.”
From Slick Rick’s “Lodi Dodi” covered by Snoop Dogg from the Doggystyle album. Pertaining to any Vlade Divac play, it gave the Sacramento Kings Center some much needed respect as he was rearing towards the descent into basketball irrelevancy.
5. “You ain’t got to go home, but you got to get the heck up outta here.”
No shade, Stuart Scott just wants to let you know you either struck out, or you messed up for getting ejected from a game.
6. “He treats him like a dog. Sit. Stay.”
After Allen Iverson broke a defender’s ankles, Scott dropped this one on the poor guy.
7. “Just call him butter cuz he’s on a roll.”
My personal favorite Stuart Scottism: “He must be the bus driver cuz he was takin’ him to school.”
ESPN president John Skipper released an emotional statement on Scott’s death:
ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott,” said ESPN president John Skipper. “Who engages in mixed martial arts training in the midst of chemotherapy treatments? Who leaves a hospital procedure to return to the set?
“His energetic and unwavering devotion to his family and to his work while fighting the battle of his life left us in awe, and he leaves a void that can never be replaced.”
ESPN hired Scott in 1993 for the launch of ESPN 2, hoping to attract a younger audience to the network. Scott didn’t disappoint his bosses as the 18-29 crowd flocked to his late-night SportsCenter show. The combination of a cool personality and his hip-hop lite references made him the most popular personality on the network.
Last July, he accepted the “Jimmy V Award,” for courage in sports, given in honor of former North Carolina State basketball coach Jimmy Valvano whose own battle with cancer was memorialized in an emotional speech given at the first ESPY Awards in 1993. Scott referenced Valvano’s fight in his acceptance speech:
During Scott’s acceptance speech, he thanked loved ones and colleagues for supporting his efforts, then showed his modest side, noting that he never thought he belonged in the same category as people who had received past Jimmy V awards.
“At my gut level, I really didn’t think that I belonged with those great people,” Scott said. “But I listened to what Jim Valvano said 21 years ago, the most poignant seven words ever uttered in any speech anywhere: ‘Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.’ Those great people didn’t. Coach Valvano didn’t. So to be honored with this, I now have a responsibility to also not ever give up. I’m not special. I just listened to what the man said.”
Scott also talked about how difficult it is to suffer with a disease like cancer. In fact, prior to the show, he underwent four surgeries in the span of seven days. Scott wasn’t even sure if he was going to survive. But with the help of his medical staff, his family, his friends and his fans, he made it to the awards ceremony. And that’s when he realized the whole battle is “not a solo venture.”
“When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you lived, why you lived and in the manner in which you lived,” Scott said. “So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”
After every chemotherapy session, Scott would head to the gym and train in mixed martial arts. His reasoning?
“I can take this,” he said at the time. “Deal with it easier than some people I see. So I think for the ones who can’t punch a heavy bag, can’t spar, who can’t do any of that. I’ll do it for you.”
Scott is survived by his two daughters, Taelor, 19,and Sydni, 14. Of fatherhood, Scott said, “The best thing I have ever done, the best thing I will ever do is be a dad to Taelor and Sydni.”
Stuart Scott — as cool as the other side of the pillow.