Stuart Scott: Sportscasting Savant

Updated: January 23, 2015
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You really struggle to realize the impact pop culture icons have on your upbringing until they are gone. From a volume of exposure standpoint alone, I consumed more of Stuart Scott’s words, thoughts, and idiosyncrasies - and was more engaged in doing so - than just about any teacher, mentor, or friend throughout my formative years. I literally watched the guy every single day of my childhood, and I excitedly anticipated watching him with the childhood fervor we nostalgically long for in our adulthood. It has taken me a few weeks to internalize and begin to grieve the loss of Stuart Scott,  but it will take generations before we can fully measure his impact on the sports broadcasting landscape. The power behind his delivery was from a place of passion, the source of his innovation was from a genuine and insatiable desire to be great. And his originality, unapologetically brought carnage to commentating convention.


From all the eulogies and impromptu obituaries from former ESPN colleagues of Scott, the lasting takeaway was that he refused to change his identity. ESPN personalities of today; the likes of Skip Bayless and Steven A. Smith, are so gimmicky to the point that it simultaneously detracts from, and further solidifies Scott’s legacy.

The contrived archetypes Bayless and Smith play on TV not only cheapen what it means to be a great on-air personality, but provide such a stark contrast for what Scott embodied, that it makes you appreciate Stu more. With Stuart Scott, you could just tell that the personality he portrayed on the air was all encompassing of his essence. It was real.


To me, the aspect of Scott’s influence that was muted in the aftermath of his death was his instrumental impact in fusing hip-hop subculture with the mainstream. In quoting rap lyrics during highlights and making direct appeals to the urban demographic, he not only gave young African-Americans a voice that they could relate to (as amplified by many current athletes via social media)…but he also opened the eyes of white suburban America to the gems and promise of a subculture that was seen in a largely negative light. His hip-hop patois was not at all confined to urbanites. Rather it fostered a curiosity in the culture amongst those outside of it.

Furthermore, he insulated hip-hop references into his message without it ever coming at the expense of his journalistic integrity or eloquence. He did it with a voice that every demographic respected and enjoyed. Stuart Scott (along with the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) provided my first exposure to rap idioms, and really, to African-American culture in general. In doing so, Stu made it ok, rather he made it normal, for white millenials all over the country to fall in love with hip-hop and the culture that accompanied it.

Stuart Scott redefined creative expressionism within the realm of broadcasting, and those of us who experienced his brilliance are forever better for it.

Rest In Peace… on the cool side of the pillow Mr. Medieval. Big ups kid…A big-time Booya for the legacy you’ve left behind…with this new batch of talent on ESPN, well uh…what had happened was…they don’t need to go home but they need to get the heck up outta here! Can I get a witness from the congregation?


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