Stuart Scott changed the way people view the ESPYs. As long as the annual award show hosted by ESPN goes on, Stuart Scott will forever be associated with it. In much the same way Jimmy Valvano’s speech became an instant classic, Scott’s passionate ESPYs’ address continues to move viewers each time they watch it.
The ESPYs speech was one of Scott’s most public appearances before his tragic death just six months later. In the speech, Scott reminded the audience, “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.”
Here are some key facts about Stuart Scott and the ESPY Awards:
1. Stuart Scott Was Awarded the Jimmy V Perseverance Award
The Jimmy V Perseverance Award was inspired by Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPY’s speech. Valvano was battling cancer and gave an inspired speech with most notably the lines, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” Two months later he would pass away, but his memory lives on with awards like this.
According to ESPN, “The Jimmy V Award is given to a deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through physical perseverance and determination.” Similarly, Stuart Scott had a long bought with cancer and was given this award in 2014 for the inspiration he provided the world during his fight with cancer.
2. Scott Delivered One of the Most Infamous Speeches in ESPYs’ History
This speech is not the only part of Stuart Scott’s legacy, but it is certainly one of the things people point to in reflecting on Scott’s life. Stuart managed to mix both humor and inspiration into the speech.
“So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you,” was one of the many inspirational lines from Scott’s ESPYS speech. Toward the end of his speech, Stuart invited his daughter Sydni onto the stage for a hug. After the outpouring of love people showed, Taelor and Sydni started a Twitter account to continue communicating with people. You can read the full text of the speech here.
3. The Award Left Stuart Scott Speechless
For those that knew Stuart Scott, it was common knowledge that words were not a problem for him. In fact, he made a living using his eloquence to cover sports. However, ESPYs producer Maura Mandt noted that when she informed Stuart that he would be receiving the Jimmy V award at the ESPYS, he was speechless.
Scott alluded to that at the opening of his speech:
“When I first heard that I was going to be honored with this reward, the very first thing that I did was, I was speechless, briefly. I’ve presented this award before. I mean, I’ve watched in awe as Kay Yow and Eric LeGrand and all these other great people graced this stage and 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 really didn’t think that I belonged with those great people.”
4. Keifer Sutherland Gave Stuart Scott the Award
Stuart Scott was a huge fan of the show 24 and requested that Keifer Sutherland present the ESPY to him. Sutherland plays the infamous Jack Bauer on the show. After Scott’s passing, Sutherland tweeted this out:
5.ESPN Began Creating a Tribute for Stuart Scott Before His Death
According to Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch this tribute was finished by ESPN on September 18, 2014, just a few months before Scott’s death. Obviously, the network hoped to not have to use it but wanted to be prepared to honor their colleague should tragedy strike. ESPN producer Mike Leber believes Scott never knew about the tribute:
We definitely discussed whether to include him and the discussion was along the lines of maybe he would want to contribute in some way, or maybe he would feel hurt if someone said the wrong thing and he found about it through other means. But the other side of it was he was in a position where he needed so much positive energy and positive reinforcement and the idea that his friends and colleagues were preparing for the end is such a negative. Being a professional, he may have known something was up and chose not to ask about it. But to my knowledge, he was not aware of the piece.”
Editor’s note: Are you playing daily fantasy yet? Heavy’s partners at DraftKings are paying out $1 billion to daily fantasy players. Sign up with DraftKings promo code HEAVY and get a $600 deposit bonus with no season-long commitment.