Stuart Scott’s legacy as television personality, as a friend and as a father

John Shearer/Invision/AP

John Shearer/Invision/AP

“You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

To us, Stuart Scott was a television personality. He was a long time ESPN anchor and host, most notably on SportsCenter. He primarily covered the NFL and the NBA. Stuart Scott was an idea to us. To his family and friends, he was something else.

Scott met his close friend Fred Tindal about 35 years ago when they were both working out at their high school gym and Tindal needed a spotter. According to Tindal, he and Scott had planned to get together and watch the Super Bowl and catch up, reminiscing on their years of youth together.

In Tindal’s life, Stuart Scott was his roommate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Scott started off his day by waking up to Run–D.M.C. playing on his bedroom radio. Then, he’d get up, start rapping and subsequently began dancing. “That was kind of weird to wake up to,” said Tindal. “He wouldn’t let me turn it off until he was finished doing his dance. I guess you can call that a quirk.”

The word quirk is one that rings a bell to his SportsCenter audience. With his signature catchphrases, including “Booyah!” and “Just call him butter ‘cause he’s on a roll”, it was clear that we were privileged to witness the quirky side of Stuart Scott as well.

Scott has two children: Taelor Scott, 19, a sophomore in college, and Sydni Scott, 15, a high school freshman who currently plays varsity soccer. Scott watched Sydni’s first soccer game from the hospital where he was receiving treatment for his long battle with cancer. He got some help from his friend Brian Gallagher, who had initiated a FaceTime call from the game so Scott could get real time updates. In turn, Sydni scored a hat trick and left him cheering and crying in the hospital. In both his children’s lives, Stuart was their proud father.

“The best thing I’ve ever done, the best thing I will ever do is be a dad to Taelor and Sydni,” Scott said. I can’t ever give up because I can’t leave my daughters.” Scott was a true family man. When his daughters found out about his diagnosis, one of the first questions they asked their father was if the disease could kill him.

“It could, and that’s why we’re doing everything we can,” Scott said. “That’s why I’m taking every medicine I can and that’s why I keep working out so we can keep traveling the way we do and so I can act silly and goofy and keep embarrassing you.” He kept his children grounded, despite all of the fame and affluence that he received internationally. At the ESPY’s, he accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. There was one quote in particular that left the audience, as well as the entire sports world, giving him a roaring applause.

“Every day, I am reminded that our life’s journey is really about the people who touch us,” said Scott. “When you die, that 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.”

To us, he was Stuart Scott. To Fred Tindal and fellow ESPN colleagues, he was Stu. To his daughters, he was daddy.

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