One of the most influential sports anchors of all time was Stuart Scott. Scott was most known for his hip-hop style, new to sports, and his catch phrases, most notably “Boo-Yeah!” and “as cool as the other side of the pillow.” He was a truly a leader from the day he stepped foot on the ESPN studio. He led by the way he broadcasted, the way he inspired others, and by the the way he lived his life.
Stuart Scott was always so much more than an ESPN anchor: he was an icon. Referred to as a “groundbreaking broadcaster” by Rich Eisen, he brought an all new attitude to sports and changed sports commentating forever. He appealed to the African-American community like an anchor never had before. Despite the hate mail and at one point “ESPN officials asked him to consider dialing it back (Travis Waldron)” Scott refused, and continued his unique style. He continued to change sports commentating appealing to black and white audiences alike.
However, soon he became not just an icon for the new hip-hop style. He also became an icon for battling. In 2007 Scott was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer which he battled, on and off, until his battle ended on January 4th, 2015. His battle is what makes him the leader he is and the current event he continues to impact.
Stuart’s battle with cancer began in 2007 when he was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. After, he was diagnosed with cancer for the first time, and soon won the battle and went into remission. But this victory was only temporary as the cancer came back in 2011, and the a third time in 2013. The third time was different. He told Men’s Health “To be honest, I’m scared. I’ve always been afraid of cancer, but this time feels different. My confidence is shaken.”
But, before Stuart’s battle with cancer ended, in one of the most iconic moments of his fight, he received the Jimmy V Perseverance ESPY. But it wasn’t receiving the award was the iconic part-it was the speech he gave (below).
What makes Scott the great leader he was was not his revolutionary broadcasting style, although that played a role. It was that others are inspired to follow him and feed off of his energy and the strength he displayed throughout his his battle just as they were years ago. For someone to go through what he went through and maintain his spirit, his joy, and his motivation and will to continue to battle people will naturally follow him. In the speech Scott says “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” These words along with how he lived his life are what make hime a leader.
Scott inspired thousands in their battle with cancer as well as impacting countless more through promoting the Jimmy V cancer research foundation. That’s what I admire most about him: he’s been through it all. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks it. That is such a crucial characteristic for leaders-to lead by example and understand what your followers are going through. Cancer has touched everyone in someway or another and Scott’s work for cancer research impacts everyone.
Stuart Scott touched, and continues to touch, countless lives. From his revolutionary broadcasting style to his battle with cancer, Stuart Scott was a leader in all aspects of life and truly was as cool as the other side of the pillow. His impact continues to be felt and will be for years to come. On behalf of myself and others everywhere: Thank you, Stuart Scott.