Around this time every year (and again in December at the beginning of college basketball season), I re-watch Jim Valvano’s acceptance speech after receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the inaugural ESPY Awards in 1993. I don’t remember watching the initial speech – I was 9 years old – but no matter how many times I see it and how much time has passed, I am incredibly moved and touched every. single. time.
Then, last year, Stuart Scott was the recipient of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award while he was in the midst of fighting the battle of his life against cancer and delivered a speech that was on-par with Jimmy V’s words. Stuart Scott was an anchor on ESPN’s SportsCenter and made sports news FUN 🙂 It wasn’t just his catch phrases that I remember so clearly, like “BOO-yah”, “cooler than the other side of the pillow”, “he must be butter ’cause he’s on a ROLL”, but also his spirit and obvious love of all things sports.
My mom and I would watch SportsCenter together while we were having breakfast in the morning when I was in junior high and high school, and he always made us laugh. The SportsCenter pennant that hangs in my office has a lot of the common SC catch phrases, and many of them are attributed to Stuart Scott. Those words and the ones he delivered at the 2014 ESPYs will permanently be ingrained in my mind.
So, with the ESPY Awards airing tonight, here are those two speeches. Have some tissues handy, but don’t let tears fall out of sadness that these two legends are now gone. Rather, remember them for their inspirational words, their joyful spirits, how hard they fought against cancer and their attitudes during those battles, and the lasting impact they had on the sports world – and on me 🙂
Jimmy V, 1993 Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award
Stuart Scott, 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award