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Stuart Scott helped take sports from pasttime to obsession

by Lut Williams

Want to know how special ESPN broadcaster and host Stuart Scott, who died this week after a long bout with cancer, was? Think about it. There are not and have not been many like him.stu scot1

He was given a platform on ESPN and he carried it. Who else can you say that about? Not many.

In the days before ESPN, late sportscaster Glenn Brenner of WTOP (and whatever other call letters it goes by today) in Washington was a comic genius. I (while sometimes attending Howard University in the late 1970s) tuned in to his daily broadcasts and just waited for the jokes. There was never a broadcast that he didn‘t make you laugh, at least once, while still delivering the sports news of the day. The atmosphere was of pure entertainment with a bit of sports thrown in.glen brenner

Brenner commanded your attention. From my perspective, there‘s not enough good stuff on YouTube to let you know how good and funny Brenner was.

Then there‘s Howard Cosell, the late great former ABC host and commentator. Cosell was bombastic for sure, but he was more like a set-up man or a foil for the likes of showmen “Dandy“ Don Meredith of Monday Night Football fame and boxing great Muhammad Ali.

Cosell would deliver his pompous, verbose high-minded questions or commentary and Meredith and Ali would unceremoniously shoot them right down to earth.cosell

You hated to hear almost anything Cosell had to say but loved the comeuppance. More than anything else, that is why he was compelling.

You could certainly say Chris Berman carries ESPN. He‘s become like the face of the network.

Berman, called “Boomer“, “Boom“ or “The Swami“ by his colleagues on the various platforms he helms, is a real personality with his funny nicknames and plays on the names of the coaches and players he covers. He‘s toned that down though in recent years as he‘s become the Walter Cronkite of chris bermanESPN.

But Scott took ESPN to another level. He made sportscasting cool - combining professionalism with verve and telling the stories in a way that even the most rabid fan could identify with. And he brought all the homies, including “Pookie“, “Ray Ray and em,“ into the conversation.

He was unique and he was good. He had his own style and gave less than a damn if you liked it.

He was one of the icons that took sports from a weekend pasttime to a 24-7 obsession. ESPN needed people like Stuart Scott to make that happen.

In that sense, Stuart Scott did for sports what Miles Davis did for jazz. They brought something different and innovative to the table. You may not like sports and you may not like jazz, but those who do know that Stu and Miles are cool.

So the next time, sports fans, when you flip the pillow looking for something cool and different on the other side, think of Stu.

 

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© AZEEZ Communications

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