Not all that long ago, I was complaining to a buddy of mine with knowledge of the inner workings at ESPN about the "shtick" of some of the anchors/hosts.
Specifically, I told him that I was not a huge fan of Stuart Scott's work and that Chris Berman's gravelly barrage of jokes that were fresh in 1989 made me want to jam a crowbar through my brain. My friend proceeded to tell me that if anyone was going to have to change in my relationship with ESPN, it would be me because those two guys weren't going anywhere.
"Berman and Stu are the most powerful guys in the building," he said.
Let me just say that I'm still trying to reconcile my feelings with the two of them (both are, by all accounts, pretty nice guys, for what it's worth), but I struggle.
As it pertains to Scott, I respect his longevity, I respect his professionalism, I definitely respect his ability to build a brand. I'm just not wild about the brand.
I'm still not, but after last night's ESPY's, I am a huge fan of Stuart Scott the person and Stuart Scott the father.
Every year, the ESPY's are essentially a celebration of ESPN disguised as a celebration of the sports year that was. It's cheesy, it's pretentious, it's really expensive, and yet every year I find myself transfixed by it. (Mostly because, wisely, ESPN schedules it for the one day a year when there are no professional sports being played, the day after the MLB All-Star Game.)
The show is divided up as follows: 10 percent bad jokes by an emcee, 15 percent highlights, 5 percent cleavage, 50 percent ESPN masturbation, 15 percent acceptance speeches. Basically, a huge stew of sports, boobs and celebs, with a sprinkle of douche (what's up, Drake?!)
The remaining 5 percent is the good part -- the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, which gets me every year.
It started back in 1993, when Jimmy V put the ESPY's on the map with one of the greatest speeches at any awards show ever....
From there, after the death of the late N.C. State head coach and ESPN personality, the V Foundation for cancer research was formed and has since raised millions of dollars for cancer research and treatment. Through the years, there have been some tear-jerking speeches and some amazing moments.
Last night, Stuart Scott gave us the latest, winning the Jimmy V Award and bringing the house down with his speech.
I knew that Stuart Scott had cancer. His diagnosis has been widely publicized, but the severity and his battle have not. As a precursor to the speech, ESPN gave us a glimpse into Scott's treatment and a visit to the doctor's office. It also gives us a fantastic window into Scott as a father, which is always cool to me, to see TV people in their most comfortable and, for Scott, most natural environment.
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I'm still not wild about Stuart Scott's on-air style, but I like Stuart Scott. Ladies and gentlemen, the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award winner, Stuart Scott....
(Sorry, it's way more badass when Jack Bauer says it.)