Stuart Scott, the humorous, high-energy, sports announcer on ESPNs SportsCenter, whom Kobe Bryant said “changed the game,” is being remembered as much for his cameo film roles and catchphrases as the sports he covered.
Scott, 49, who died of cancer on Sunday and joined ESPN in 1993, himself became as much of a celebrity as many NBA and NFL players.
In fact, Scott’s popularity with sports fans led to several cameo appearances, including: “He Got Game,” “The Kid,” “Drumline,” “Mr. 3000,” “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” “The Game Plan,” and “Just Wright.”
The irrepressible Chicago native changed the way sports was covered, simply by being himself. He connected with his audience and made the broadcasts an entertaining narrative instead of a rote statistics.
“He was a trailblazer," says ESPN anchor Stan Verrett, "not only because he was black -- obviously black -- but because of his style, his demeanor, his presentation. He did not shy away from the fact that he was a black man, and that allowed the rest of us who came along to just be ourselves."
His catchphrases and colorful accounts of sports action made Scotts’ broadcasts exciting to watch. From his animated “Boo-yah!” to "Hallah,” "Just call him butter ’cause he’s on a roll" and "Holla at a playa when you see him in the street," fans embraced the sayings and the man.
When he was seven, Scott and his family moved from Chicago to Winston-Salem, N.C. He would later attend the University of North Carolina, and become part of the on-air talent at the student-run radio station WXYC. He graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication. In 2001, he gave the commencement address at UNC where he implored graduates to celebrate diversity and recognize the power of communication.
In, addition to SportsCenter, Scott hosted Sunday Night Countdown and events like the NBA Finals. He also sat down with presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
“I will miss Stuart Scott,” President Obama said in a statement. “…Wherever I went, I could flip on the TV and Stu and his colleagues on SportsCenter were there. Over the years, he entertained us, and in the end, he inspired us – with courage and love.”
Scott had battled cancer since 2007. It went into remission, but returned again in 2011 and 2013. He remained upbeat, turning his condition into one of the best catchphrases of all: "You beat cancer by how you live.”
He was divorced in 2007 and leaves behind two teenage girls.