LOS ANGELES, January 4, 2015 — It is rare that any event can parallel the start of the NFL playoffs, but football flags were at half-staff this weekend. At age 49, ESPN announcer Stuart Scott died from brain cancer.
While Scott was far deeper and insightful than his television persona, he was every bit as kind and genuine as what people saw. For sports fans, he will always be the too cool for school announcer we wanted to be.
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce was an ordained minister who returned a kickoff all the way. Scott entertained the audience just as much as Bruce on that play. “Isaac Bruce is the minister. Can I get a witness from the congregation? It’s a touchdown!”
It was an honor for Scott to tell you that you were “as cool as the other side of the pillow.” That could absolutely describe Scott himself.
Then there were the various versions of players who stopped other players in their tracks. They were the “haters.”
“(Any number of players) trying to be a player. Meet (other player), player hater.”
He was “breaking out the hatorade.”
“Hater in the house.”
“Why you hating on me, dog?”
His signature catchphrase, “Boo-yah,” always came after a dramatic play.
Mr. Quarterback, meet Baltimore Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware. “Boulware? Boo-yeah!”
He was gently mocked in a Saturday Night Live skit so realistic that people could have confused Tim Meadows and Ray Romano with Stuart Scott and those around him.
As the host of SportsCenter, Stuart covered all sports. It was his brief stint with Chris Berman and Tom Jackson on NFL Primetime that endeared him to football fans forever.
Scott talked to newsmakers of all stripes. He even interviewed former President Bill Clinton about his television watching habits. Hillary likes to stay on one channel while Bill flips obsessively until she has had enough.
Stuart won the Jim Valvano award a few months before he died. He had the crowd near tears at the ESPYs as he vowed to keep fighting.
At his best, Scott offered humor in the most ordinary situations. Even a typical interception could be fun.
“He completes the pass to the defensive back. Problem: He’s on the other team.”
If John Facenda was the voice of God, then Stuart Scott was the lord’s hip young announcer cousin.
Scott made frequent television and movie cameos, usually as himself. He was in the Adam Sandler remake of the Burt Reynolds football movie, “The Longest Yard,” as well as the television miniseries, “Black to the Future.”
Scott was a rock star in the sports world who was also a man of the people At the 2006 Pro Bowl in Hawaii, everybody else was dressed in Hawaiian shirts. Scott stood on the field in a three-piece suit and tie, dressed to the nines. Fans took delight as he came by the front row of seats and handed out “fist-bumps.”
He was a husband, father, friend, and respected professional.
To his legions of fans, he was simply the best. Sports are games. They are entertainment. They are meant to be fun. He brought the fun, night after night, year after year.
Scott is now in sports heaven. On earth, he will be remembered forever.
Farewell, Stuart Scott. You are gone, but never forgotten. Can I get a witness from the congregation? Amen.