New York - Stuart Scott, an ESPN sportscaster whose use of pop culture
references and wordplay earned him a loyal following among US fans and
the athletes he covered, died on Sunday at the age of 49.
ESPN, the network he joined in 1993, said Scott died of cancer,
having battled recurrent bouts of the disease since he was first
diagnosed in November of 2007.
Scott's signature expression, "Booyah!" spread beyond the sports
world and he peppered his reports and commentary on athletes and their
exploits with other lively phrases such as "Cool as the other side of
the pillow" or "Just call him butter 'cause he's on a roll."
Scott anchored ESPN's flagship SportsCenter shows, hosted the NFL
pre-game show Monday Night Countdown and served as the lead host for NBA
coverage on ESPN and the ABC network.
In July, he delivered an eloquent speech upon accepting the Jimmy V
Award for Perseverance at the 2014 ESPY Awards, an honor named for Jim
Valvano, the North Carolina State basketball coach who died of cancer in
1993 at 47 after working as a commentator for ESPN.
Looking frail, Scott told the audience: "When you die, it 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."
Scott was ESPN's most prominent black sportscaster, and although it
prompted criticism from some quarters he infused his reports not only
with references to Shakespeare but also with hip-hop slang that
resonated with a young black audience.
"What u did for our culture, bringing that Swag to reporting can only
be copied," NBA superstar LeBron James wrote on his Instagram account
on Sunday as tributes to Scott poured out on social media.
"Thank you so much for being u and giving us inner city kids someone
we could relate to that wasn't a player but was close enough to them,"
Golf star Tiger Woods took to Twitter with a word of support for Scott's wife and teenaged daughters.
"Stuart wasn't covering heroes & champions, it was the other way
around," Woods tweeted. "Thinking of my friend & his daughters."
US President Barack Obama, an avid sports fan, said he would miss Scott.
"Twenty years ago, Stu helped usher in a new way to talk about our
favorite teams and the day’s best plays," Obama said in a statement.
"Over the years, he entertained us, and in the end, he inspired us -
with courage and love."