Share

ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott’s Daughters Reflect On Their Dad’s Legendary Career


Late in his life, former ESPN anchor Stuart Scott was broadly acclaimed by sports media critics for his pioneering style, and missed by fans who enjoyed his presence on “SportsCenter,” the network’s nightly highlights show.

Two voices rarely heard in the conversation around Scott are featured in a new film released Sunday by ESPN: His daughters.

The featured short, titled “Fight Like Hell,” features Syndi and Taelor Scott’s reflections on their father’s life and legacy.

“You can see a style develop – like his voice sounded a little more nasally at the beginning,” Taelor Scott says. “I think that it was amazing how he was able to transform that just through dogged genuineness into something that people thought was pretty cool.”

A native of North Carolina, Scott worked at WESH, an NBC affiliate in Orlando, Florida as a sports reporter and sports anchor from 1990-93. He never strayed far from his Southern roots even as his career took him to ESPN’s hallowed halls in Bristol, Connecticut.

After replacing Keith Olbermann on Sports Night, Scott became a fixture on ESPN’s SportsCenter, where he was teamed with fellow anchors Steve Levy, Kenny Mayne, Dan Patrick, and Rich Eisen.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 16: TV personality Stuart Scott accepts the Jimmy V Perseverance Award with his daughter onstage during the 2014 ESPYS at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 16, 2014 in Los…


Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In 2002, Scott was named studio host for the NBA on ESPN, and became the lead host in 2008. Along the way, he made a name for himself as few others could.

Wrote The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis:

“Scott was proof that a SportsCenter anchor could talk about what interested them, no matter what they looked like. Scott reused bits of slang he’d heard growing up in North Carolina (“boo-yah!”). He traded Dan (Patrick) and Keith (Olbermann)’s wryness for Boomer (Chris Berman)’s boundless sports love. To the SportsCenter reference bible, Scott added Shakespeare, Southern Baptist preachers (“The Lord said you got to rise up!”), and Pookie and Nuck-Nuck.”

Both of Scott’s daughters are too young to have appreciated that cultural impact in real-time. To them, Scott was a different kind of role model.

“I have so much more awe and respect for his refusal to hold back on aspects of his personality that communicate to people I’m black, and that’s something that’s really inspiring to me,” Sydni Scott says in “Fight Like Hell.”

Scott was diagnosed with appendiceal cancer in 2007 and twice fought the disease into remission before his death in Jan. 2015 at age 49. His memoir, Every Day I Fight, published three days before his death.

Nine years later, Scott’s legacy lives on — not only in the countless broadcasters he inspired simply by being his authentic self on-air, but through his family.