Longtime ESPN broadcaster Stuart Scott passed away this Sunday after a long battle with cancer. It was a big deal.
A lot of the laments for Scott noted what a pioneer he was, a truly authentic voice in an industry that encourages conformity in its suits. A lot of them noted his speech at the ESPYs in 2014, which is so worth your time that I'm going to embed it:
My strongest Stuart Scott memory is of a highlight I only saw once, and barring great leaps in ESPN library search technology, will only ever see once:
It's the summer of 1998. Ken Griffey Jr. is having a monster year. He might even be continuing a four-game homering streak into July, but that could be my memory embellishing.
What I'm sure of is that The Kid was being particularly self-effacing in the media, and Stuart Scott called a Griffey home run with:
For the unfamiliar, that's the edited chorus of Big Pun's "Still Not A Player", which was released in March 1998 and was a hit, but not a huge hit.
11-year-old me thought that was the coolest thing in the world, and I still do. Scott was speaking in code - only someone who knew the song would get the reference, only someone who was paying attention to the M's (to be fair, baseball was dominant then) would get the relevance, but he still dropped that - and I'm sure it worked even if you didn't know anything about baseball.
Scott's cool enthusiasm was really appealing and also rare. I don't think any ESPN-or-competitor anchor has approached it. Rest in Power, Stuart.