Today marks two years since the passing of Stuart Scott, a revolutionary icon who transcended sports journalism.
I remember the morning of January 4, 2015 like it was yesterday. I woke up to a text message from a good friend that read:
“I’m sorry for your loss bro. I know it hurts. You need to carry on his legacy and become the next Stuart Scott.”
I couldn’t believe it. The man I called my role model for almost a decade passed away from cancer. As I turned the television on and watched ESPN’s tribute, my emotions immediately overcame me.
Although I’ve never met Stu, he had a tremendous impact on my life. He fought his illness the only way he could, through perseverance and resilience. He lived everyday like it was his last and you could never tell he was in pain during his broadcasts.
Stu is the entire reason why I’m not paralyzed by my illness (Crohn’s Disease). There are days where I’m in extreme pain and I fight through it, sometimes more than I should.
In his memoir, entitled “Every Day I Fight” Stu broke down why he continues to live his life as if he didn’t have cancer.
“It’s also about the central paradox of that fight: You hate this thing inside you. You want to rid your body of it. At the same time, you’re aware of what it’s done to you: how it gives you an urgency to live – really live – every day; how it makes you see the profound in the everyday; how it teaches patience and humility. The contradiction is as top-of-mind as the fact of the cancer itself: Cancer can kill you, but it can also make you the man you always wanted to be.”
Cancer didn’t define Stu. What made him legendary was his approach to covering sports. He was unapologetically himself at all times. He talked about sports on air, just as if he was in the living room with his friends. He modernized ESPN. He was a relatable figure. He was family oriented, and he loved his two daughters, Sydni and Taelor more than life itself.
Stu’s signature catchphrases became known as “Boo-Yah!” and “As cool as the other side of the pillow.” That wasn’t the only distinction from his colleagues. He was determined to use more statistics than his peers as well. With a combination of knowledge and style, Stu was one of a kind.
If his legacy wasn’t already solidified, the moment that sealed it occurred during the ESPYs of 2014. Stu was honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and delivered a heartfelt speech that touched millions.
His strong-will was contagious, and it’s something I try to live with each and every day.
As an alum of the University of North Carolina, Stuart also was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He was an initial reason as to why I joined the same fraternity. Although he’s not here physically, I’m honored to be able to call him my brother.
Thank you and rest peacefully, Brother Scott…