ESPN’s Stuart Scott, 49, Loses Courageous 7-Year Battle With Cancer

king_114_article-small_21760Stuart Scott, the ESPN anchor who made SportsCenter a place for not only highlights but clever hyperbole, died today after a seven-year battle with cancer. He was 49.

Perhaps the most popular sports personality since John Madden, Scott publicly and bravely took on a rare form of cancer in his stomach, and became a voice for others going through the struggle. Last year he was honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and delivered a moving speech about fighting for his wife and two daughters.

Scott, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, joined ESPN in 1993 and quickly became popular, especially in the Black community, for bringing urban style to mainstream sports television. He coined phrases like “boo-yah” and “cooler than the other side of the pillow.”

“SportsCenter” anchor Jay Harris said to ESPN: “Think about that phrase, ‘As cool as the other side of the pillow.’ It’s a hot, stifling night. You’re having trouble sleeping. But then you think to turn the pillow over, and, wow, it’s cool, and it feels so good.” Well, that’s who Stuart is. He is ‘the other side of pillow,’ the man who made sportscasting cool. God bless whoever it was who thought to rearrange the bedding at ESPN.”

ESPN anchor Suzy Kolbert said to the network: “When he went to ESPN, Stuart didn’t change his style—and there was some resistance. Even I encouraged him to maybe take a more traditional approach, but he had a strong conviction about who he wanted to be, and the voice he wanted to project, and clearly, he was right, and we were wrong.”

Added Vince Doria, ESPN director of news: “There were successful African-American sportscasters at the time. But Stuart spoke a much different language … that appealed to a young demographic, particularly a young African-American demographic.”

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