Nov 11, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; ESPN announcer Stuart Scott prior to the game between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
He was born July 19, 1965, and died January 4th, 2015. He was 49, and cooler than the other side of the pillow.
How do you make a difference in sportscasting? How do you enter a career field with dead-set guidelines, and alter them around your own personality, and succeed? How do you do it as a young black man in a society where race is still, sadly, a part of the culture?
Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Scott graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in speech communications and radio, television and motion pictures, per ESPN.com
During a Monday Night Football game in late 2007, Scott became ill mid broadcast and was sent to the emergency room, where he had an emergency appendectomy. During the procedure, a malignancy was found that was possibly cancerous, and by now we all know full well it was.
He beat the cancer.
In early 2012, he again beat the cancer.
By January of 2013, Stuart Scott yet again – had cancer. It seemed that no matter how many times Scott beat the cancer down, it would again rear its ugly head.
In 2014, Scott was awarded the ESPY for Perseverance, and his speech there immediately went viral following his death. Highlights of which I’ve transcribed below.
"When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live. So live. Live. Fight like hell…The best thing I have ever done, the best thing I will ever do, is be a Dad to Taelor and Sydni…I can’t ever give up, because I can’t leave my daughters…Taelor and Sydni, I love you guys more than I will ever be able to express. You two are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage, here tonight, because of you."
Stuart Scott never gave up. He refused to. He inspired so many. He once said “I have to feel as much as I can like I don’t have cancer, but the truth is I think about cancer 20 times a day.”
While many people would just lie down and almost “accept” their fate, Scott refused to let the disease dictate his life. He continued to do SportsCenter on ESPN, he took up kickboxing, he continued to travel. “Fighting is not quitting…..I’m not just going to lay down and throw a pity party for myself, that, to me, is the only way to not lose.”
To Scott, the kickboxing represented everything he did on the daily – fight. While he lost weight to chemotherapy, went through a special clinical trial, and became 1/2 the physical size he once was, he became 2000% of the man he once was – quitting was not an option.
As Jack Bauer announced Stuart at the 2014 ESPY’s, Scott’s first words were to tell Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) that he was honored to be announced by the “hero” from his favorite TV show (24) – while he himself was actually the hero, to so many.
Scott took the ESPY stage immediately after a 10 day stay in the hospital, where he underwent 4 surgeries in 7 days. Where he had kidney failures, liver issues. And still he climbed up on that stage – having more strength, and being more a hero than most mortal men will ever dream to be.
Thank you, Stuart. It’s been a great 25 years. Your spirit and strength will always live on. May you forever Rest In Peace.