This morning, ESPN anchor Stuart Scott died following an extended battle with cancer. The 49 year-old sports anchor will be remembered for his on-air catchphrases and a clever mind that was always primed with sports facts and figures. As we keep his family and friends in our thoughts, let's take a look at the epic speech he gave at the ESPY Awards during July of 2014. You can watch the speech in full, below.
Stuart Scott was invited to the 2014 ESPYs to accept the trophy for the Jimmy V Award, rewarding him for his fight against cancer and his continued on-air work during a pretty tough time. Like many modest but great people, Scott began his speech by praising other people. He explained how he actually handed out the Jimmy V Award in the past and initially felt as if the greats who have nabbed the award before him were the ones who truly deserved it. But he came around to the honor before the speech, noting that the award came with a heavy responsibility.
“But I listened to what Jim Valvano said 21 years ago. The most poignant 7 words ever uttered in any speech, anywhere. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Those great people didn’t. Couch Valvano didn’t. So, to be honored with this I now have a responsibility to also not ever give up. I’m not special. I just listened to what the man said.”
His speech also touched on his feelings about cancer and how he would beat the disease rather than let it defeat him.
“You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live. So live, live, fight like hell and when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let someone fight for you.”
It’s a touching speech and a tearjerker, filled with words of wisdom from a man, still young, facing an overwhelming obstacle and not letting that obstacle be the only thing defining his life. He also touches on the way sports have impacted him and his intense love for his two daughters, Taelor and Sydni. (The latter even hops onstage to hug her father near the end of the speech.) It’s hard to watch now, knowing that Scott did ultimately succumb to the disease he was fighting so hard to beat, a disease that kept him in the hospital for numerous surgeries and had him plugged with tubes for extended periods of time. That being said, the speech rings every bit as true and touching as ever.
Our thoughts go out to Stuart Scott’s family, friends and fans during this time. May he always remain as cool as the other side of the pillow.