Today in Hip Hop History: Stuart Scott’s Birthday

Stuart Scott at the 2014 ESPY Awards

July 19, 1965

Famous ESPN/Sportscenter anchor and hip hop sportscaster Stuart Scott was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1965. Stuart Scott is known as a trailblazer for hip hop culture in mainstream television and sportscasting. He brought the culture— namely the lingo, the clothing, the attitude and the music—into the world of sports broadcasting at a time when it was only truly experienced by the players on the court or field.

He began his career with various local television stations before joining ESPN in 1993, when ESPN2 brought him on  because they were searching for sportscasters who would appeal to a younger audience. Although there were previously successful black sportscasters, Scott’s fusion of hip hop with sportscasting was a breath of fresh air for television. Despite this, his success did not come without obstacles. Generally earlier in his career, other journalists and people in the media business did not enjoy his different style, and actively sought to let him know. In the face of resistance he put his head down, worked hard, and continued to be himself.

In addition, Scott is also known for various dope catch-phrases during his tenure on television. Expressions like “Booyah”, “Doing it, doing it, and doing it well” (quoting LL Cool J) and “Cooler than the other side of the pillow” are some of his common sayings that Americans will never forget. Stuart Scott’s passion to consistently reference a niche culture in the early ’90s inspired millions of marginalized Americans.

In an interview with XXL, Scott explained Hip Hop music as an important part of his life:

I like infusing [hip-hop] into what I do, because it’s part of who I am,” he said at the time. “You’ve got to be true to who you are and what you do. I’m more of a hip-hop feel person. Music is how you feel. The younger the mind, that’s how I wanna be. One of the reasons why I do my job the way I do it is because I want to let people know it does not have to be the way society says it has to be.

Unfortunately, Stuart Scott passed away on January 4, 2015 after “winning” his battle with cancer (“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.”). He was an inspiration for athletes, children, and minorities nationwide. Because of his importance and reach, Stuart Scott represented a cultural shift in America; that of diversity, acceptance, and normalizing hip hop at a time when it was widely (and wrongly) considered dangerous and unprofessional. Scott exceptionally walked the fine line between this divide.

Watch his beautiful speech at the 2014 Espy Awards below, and see how long you can go without shedding a tear :,) RIP Stuart Scott 1965-2015

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