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His diction, explosive. His inflection, distinctive. His swagger bombarded senses, leaving eardrums to contemplate what they just consumed. There was nothing like him. He was first and foremost. A singular entity in an industry flooded with European descents, his ascent was necessary on levels no one in 1993 understood at the time. Stuart Scott besieged the airways after joining ESPN in 1993. His arrival signaled a change both in broadcast journalism and the network itself. Simply put, Scott put swag into a company that was not necessarily ready for it but quickly came to embrace it. Broadcast journalism was always a white man’s profession and ESPN in 1993 fell right in line. The lack of diversity of the flagship show, SportsCenter, was loud and profound. But Scott’s talent was too large to avoid. He was bound to land on the flagship, and his arrival changed everything. “A lot of the embracing of hip hop culture we see in sports media nowadays falls directly in line with what Stu brought to the table,” said Justin Tinsley, a writer for ESPN. Scott gave ESPN the sort of cultural jolt Allen Iverson gave the NBA. Both mammoth entities were, in one way or another, forced to embrace a sector of life they might not have been ready for yet. Scott was not the first Black face on the television screen to talk about sports, not with the Brothers Gumbel already on the tube. But Scott was the first one who made it seem like the fast-talking brotha from the barber shop got a job. His lingo, littered with catch phrases recognizable at the Thanksgiving dinner table of thousands of Black families, made a community of people comfortable. He made a community of people feel like the men behind what they viewed and heard on television were actually thinking about them for once. “Stuart Scott was the superhero of sportscasters,” said Shemar Woods, an editor for ESPN New York. “You marveled at his natural ability to relate to sports fans from all walks of life and couldn’t help but say, ‘I want to be like him when I grow up’.” Scott planted seeds in a generation of young men and women that they could do what he did without losing a sense of themselves. Michael Jordan was the biggest star in basketball but he never connected with inner city

youth the way Iverson did. Scott was the Iverson to the Gumbels’ Jordan. He shouted at the top of his lungs who he was, unapologetically. Scott did not get off scot free. He battled with criticisms that he was corny. That his lingo was forced, that he was conveniently using a community’s language to his own advantage. At its worst, criticism of the anchor would touch levels where he saw himself dealing with calls for him to stop embarrassing Black folks. He stood up, stood tall and never wavered. To those who knew him, watched him, studied him and understood him, they knew he was not faking. It was not an act. He truly believed the only way he could express himself while staying true to his individuality was what he portrayed. He never apologized. He never felt the need to. He was going to be him. And that’s what endeared him to millions. “Stuart Scott was, in many ways, larger than life,” Tinsley said. “He revolutionized sports and pop culture in every facet imaginable. He made sports more fun, and he opened doors for young people in all walks of life just by his sheer enthusiasm and ‘love for the game’.” So many have followed in Scott’s footsteps. Some have tried to bite his style. Others have simply taken his brazen outlook on the profession and broken down their own walls by reenacting the massive chip on Scott’s shoulders. He benefited from being first, but it never stopped others from trying to emulate him. Journalism schools across the country are flooded with young men and women who think they can carry a SportsCenter broadcast as an anchor because they grew up watching Stuart Scott do it. Scott was parodied on Saturday Night Live. He showed up on non-ESPN platforms on multiple occasions. His personality held its own even outside the protective bubble that was ESPN. “Our generation grew up loving SportsCenter,” said Andrew

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