The first time most people saw Stuart Scott, he was wearing a leather jacket for the launch of ESPN2. "The Deuce."
But, as we soon realized, he didn't need to wear that to be hip. Stu walks into a room exuding coolness. I've been blessed to know Stu for more than 20 years. When we were both "SportsCenter" anchors, Stu asked me if he should tone down his style. I told him absolutely not. He's an ESPN original and the man GQ said put the hip-hop in sportscasting. Amen to that. As we all now know, there is much more to Stu's rich story.
I'm in awe of how Stu has stared down cancer in similar fashion, with his own take-charge style. His way of saying "Take that cancer -- booyah!"
Stu and I have a lot in common. We both are the baby in our families. We both love sports. And we've both faced cancer more than once. But the latter is not something we talk about much. We don't have to. We get it. Stu would rather talk about his beautiful daughters, his loving family, hoops ... and life.
Even before he was diagnosed, Stu was helping others by working with the V Foundation. It's incredibly fitting that he is receiving this Jimmy V Award for Perseverance in recognition of his bravery and strength. Stu embodies the unbreakable spirit of Jimmy V. The same confidence, swagger and determination. The same appreciation for family and friends. When you're fortunate enough to be in Stu's presence, no matter what challenge you're facing, you are inspired to not give up, to not ever give up.
Thank you, my friend, for your humor, your perseverance and for being as cool as the other side of the pillow. I love you.