ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith gave an emotional tribute to colleague Stuart Scott Monday on his show, “First Take.”
Scott died Sunday at 49 after a long bout with cancer.
“You knew that he was a fighter, you knew that he was somebody who was going to fight until the bitter end, and you knew he had the ultimate source of inspiration in his two beautiful daughters,” said Smith of the longtime “SportsCenter” anchor.
Smith shared one of the highlights of his career — working with Scott at the NBA Finals.
“Here we are at the Finals, I’m on ‘SportsCenter,’ and I’m with Stuart Scott; I’m with the man,” Smith said. “I felt just incredibly, incredibly confident, not because of skills, but because I was sitting besides the man that was such a pioneer for so many of us; his delivery, his presentation, his vernacular, everything that came with it.”
Smith went on to talk about the other great parts of Scott outside of his “swag,” including his tenacious determination to memorize “SportsCenter” scripts to compensate for vision problems.
“People don’t realize Stuart Scott had significant vision issues,” Smith said, noting an incident where Scott’s vision got poor after an accident at the New York Jets practice facility.
“He was also a brother who never hesitated to impart his wisdom upon people like myself, like my man J.A. Adande, and so many others in this business,” Smith continued. “He was a wonderful father, he was a wonderful person, he was a wonderful human being.”
Scott’s former ESPN colleague and current NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen also paid a special tribute to his friend and former colleague.
“One of the most joyful, full of life individuals I’ve ever come across, lived his life the way his parents wanted him to live it, the way he felt he should live it, he broadcast the same way… I love this man, I still love this man, and the fact that he has passed away is absolutely mind boggling and a travesty.”
Immediately after reporting the news of Scott’s death, ESPN released a touching nearly 15-minute video tribute to the beloved on-air personality.
In the homage, narrated by co-worker and cancer survivor Robin Roberts, Scott’s colleagues spoke glowingly about their friend. ESPN personalities Scott Van Pelt, Sage Steele, Steve Levy, John Harris, Dan Patrick and others joined network president John Skipper in praising Scott and expressing his contributions to sports broadcasting. “He didn’t push the envelope — he bulldozed the envelope,” Patrick said.
Watch the videos below: