On Sunday, long-time ESPN anchor Stuart Scott lost his battle with cancer. He was 49.
The last six months was a whirlwind for those closely following Scott’s deteriorating health situation. The severity of the situation became much more known when the ESPN Monday Night crew paid tribute to Scott before a December Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers game.
In July, Scott delivered an emotional speech at the 2014 ESPY Awards after being honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.
The speech was a raw, honest and in-character revelation of Scott’s battle, and how those who are battling or know somebody who has cancer should mentally approach the situation.
Actor Kiefer Sutherland presented Scott with the award. Scott opened his speech with a humble “thank you,” as well as a little humor to lighten the mood a bit; “Jack Bauer saved the world and he introduced me…” Sutherland is well-known for his portrayal of Bauer on Fox’s drama show 24, which was Scott’s favorite television show.
Scott, humbly, moved on and compared himself to other great people who had previously won the award:
“Every day I am reminded that our life’s journey is really about the people that touch us. When I first heard that I was going to be honored with this reward, the first thing that I did… I was speechless.. briefly. I’ve presented this award before. I’ve watched in awe as Kay Yow and Eric LeGrand and all these other great people graced this stage. Although, intellectually, I get it. I’m a public figure, I have a public job, I’m battling cancer, hopefully I’m inspiring. At my gut level, I didn’t feel like I belonged with those great people.”
When talking about great people, Scott eventually touched on Jim Valvano, former NC State head basketball coach who the award is named after.
The full Jimmy V speech can be found above. The most important and iconic part of Jimmy V’s speech above was his line: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up,” a line that Scott directly used in his ESPY’s speech:
To be honored with this … I know I have a responsibility to never give up. … I’m not special; I just listened to what the man said.
Scott revealed in the speech that he had four surgeries in seven days in the week prior to his appearance, when he was suffering from liver complications and kidney failure. Scott was in such bad shape that he didn’t know if he would make it to the show.
Scott’s Jimmy V moment came when he explained how he was personally battling cancer:
“I’m not losing. I’m still here. I’m fighting, but I have to amend that. When you die, that doesn’t mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.”
Scott referenced his viewers, his Twitter followers, his friends, his colleagues, his bosses, and his family, all of the sources for his inspiration because at moments, when he believed he couldn’t fight, they would fight for him — and for somebody being treated with cancer — that makes a world of difference.
The most important source of inspiration for Scott are his two daughters:
“I have one more necessity. Eh, it’s really two… Two very vibrant, intelligent young ladies. The best thing I have ever done, and the best thing I will ever do is be a dad to Taelor and Sydni. It’s true. I can’t ever give up because I can’t leave my daughters.”
NFL Network and former ESPN anchor Rich Eisen was emotional in a teary tribute and goodbye to his former friend.
Scott’s death has had a profound impact on the sports world.