They Reminisce: Stuart Scott

Posted On Sunday, January 4, 2015

I know this will sound crazy to cats who are 30 or younger but there was a time when finding hip hop in everyday life was just as hard to find as a woman nowadays who's 35+ who doesn't have kids. Cats used to have to stay up on Friday and Saturday nights in their respective cities (in the 80's in Philly it was Friday nights with Lady B on Power 99 and in the 90's it was my show Strictly Hip Hop on Friday nights from midnight to 5 on WEAA) to hear hip hop. Slowly but surely the rest of the world started to pick up on our culture and you'd start seeing bits and pieces of hip hop in commercials, tv shows, movies, etc. And eventually hip hop would start to show up in the sports world. I mean, how could it not? Athletes were getting younger and blacker so it would only make sense that hip hop and sports would become intertwined. And with the athletes getting younger and blacker it would only make sense that the folk who report on those athletes got younger and blacker too. Which brings me to Stuart Scott.

I remember when dude first came on ESPN I thought dude was maaaaaaaad corny. I felt like he was the old head on the block trying to be cool...and it wasn't working. I felt like he was always about 3 years behind with his slang. Whether it was "whoops there it is" or sumthin' else that was played out, this dude was like your uncle at the BBQ trying to show he was still down. But then something crazy happened...I started liking dude. Instead of looking at dude like your corny old uncle at the family reunion I started looking at him as your cool uncle who walked alongside King in the 60's. See, back in the early 90's it wasn't like ESPN's cup was running over with black anchors on the air. So, even though you could tell Stuart wasn't from 16th and Diamond, all of a sudden that didn't matter to me. Dude was a black man on TV bringing our culture to the world and THAT'S what was important. And after a while it went from thinking he was just aiight to him being my dude. It was to the point that it I didn't even wanna watch Sports Center if Stuart wasn't on. Kinda like when you find out your pastor isn't preaching this week and you've got a guest pastor on tap and you decide to sleep in. Yeah, it was like that.

The bugged thing was that as time went on, I started seeing other cats biting dude's style. Trying to report the news sounding hip but guess what? There was only one spot for that. So while the rest of these dudes were trying to be like Flash and lead the Five Heartbeats, Stuart was on his Eddie Kane jawn. But even though biting is a cardinal sin in my eyes, I can't front, it was dope seeing people bite his style. It was like Biz said "damn it feels good to see people up on it" cause I'm sure the bulk of folk up at ESPN were frontin' on that same style a couple of years ago but now they're trying to use it....and doing a horrible job at it too. Almost like when everybody was biting Das' "diggedy" style but nobody could freak it like they could. Stuart opened the door for blacks in the sports media world just like Run DMC opened the doors for the next generation of MC's and we owe dude EVERYTHING for that. Eventually I heard dude had cancer and that really tore me apart. See, back in 2004 I was having a rack of health problems and for years no one knew what was wrong with me. There were days when I would wish for lupus or any kind of diagnosis cause I got so tired of folk telling me they didn't know what was wrong with me. I eventually got diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and took some radiation iodine and the problem was supposed to be solved...but it wasn't. I was still in pain everyday and we were all back to the square one. At the same time my wife was pregnant with our daughter and since I didn't know what was wrong with me, I didn't know how much time I had. So when I had my daughter, I tried to spend as much time with her as possible because I seriously didn't know how long I was gonna be around. Eventually I got diagnosed with fibromyalga which is a disease that affects your joints and muscles and even though I'm in pain everyday of my life, I'm good as long as I'm not dying from this thing, so I get to see my baby girl grow up.

So when I saw Stuart's speech last years at the ESPY awards and he kept talking about being here for his daughters, it really hit home for me because I know EXACTLY what he was talking about. So when I woke up Sunday morning to see that Stuart passed away, it broke me. It's funny how watching ESPN every single day of your life for the past 20 years can make you feel like you really knew a person, even though you've never met them and that's how I felt about Stuart because I was always rooting for dude. Back in  '02 when dude had an accident at the Jets mini-camp and messed up his eye, I was rooting for him to get back on the air. When he first got diagnosed with cancer, I was rooting for him to beat it and get back on the air, so I could hear his patented "boo-yah" or "cooler then the other side of the pillow." And when the cancer came back, I was still rooting for him to beat it...but this time it wasn't just to get back on the air but for him to have more time with his daughters. I realized after the ESPY's that I might never see Stuart back on the air again and the sad part is now I know I won't. But even though I won't see dude droppin' science on ESPN anymore the most important thing is that he's no longer in pain. Plus, Stuart also left us with the blueprint on how to play this game called life which is simply, fight everyday. Fight through the ups and downs, the pains, the tragedies, the depression, the good, the bad and the downright ugly but no matter where we are in the game we need to fight and not EVER think about giving up. Rest well fam...

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