Veteran broadcaster Steve Levy arrived at ESPN shortly before Scott in 1993. They worked on several shows together, including the first SportsCenter broadcast from a new studio in June.
DAN PATRICK:The analogy I use to describe working with Stuart—it was like a rap-off in the movie 8 Mile. It was almost as if he turned the show itself into a sporting event.
STEVE LEVY: If he was in the building, he gave you everything he had. There were nights toward the end, he had no business being there. You could see the physical toll it was taking on Stuart. But when the red light came on, it was like he was Stuart from 10 years ago.
DP:One time he lost a contact lens and sat out a segment. He came back and said sorry with no real explanation. He just wanted to do the show.
SL: Stuart was known for screaming out a random question to the researcher 30 seconds before we were back on air. "How many doubles did Rod Carew have against lefthanded pitching and where does he rank on the alltime list? I need it in five ... four ... three...." To his credit, he always used it on the air. He never wasted the researcher's time.
DP:Do you think Stuart would have wanted to see the tribute video ESPN put together?
SL: I think he'd say, Bring it. President Obama? Are you kidding? LeBron James. Tiger Woods. Michael Jordan.
DP:I wish we could have played it for him.
SL: He's a one-of-a-kind performer. If you and Keith [Olbermann] were not on the Sunday-night show, it was a bit of a disappointment. There are very few guys who make that mark. On Sunday at 11, if Stuart was not on the show—it was a little disappointing. You turned the TV on, you wanted to see Stuart Scott.
DP:I'll admit, I didn't fully embrace his style. I didn't understand it. But he wasn't concerned about my opinion. He was going for a different audience.
SL: Stuart and I had one awkward moment. They brought a bunch of media types to Bristol [Conn.] before the 30,000th SportsCenter. They asked us to talk about each other. I said that Stuart went out on a limb and that he took a huge gamble. He corrected me. He did not feel he took a gamble. He didn't feel he had an option.
DP:In his mind the gamble would have been being something else.
SL: Right. He was betting on himself. Of course, we all won because of that.
Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner explained teammate Marshawn Lynch's frosty approach to the media. "His game speaks for itself," Wagner said. "When you have a [great] run, you don't have to describe the run. The Marshawn Lynch I know and the Marshawn Lynch you know are two different people." ... Ravens QB Joe Flacco is unflappable with the game on the line, but he admitted he's not always so composed: "In our locker room someone asked, 'Do you cry during movies?' I'm a definite yes. I'm a crier. [In] The Lion King, when Mufasa dies, I cry." ... Actor and Patriots fan Mark Wahlberg told me he once tried to show off his muscles to Rob Gronkowski. "He was at my house," Wahlberg said. "I can bench 335 pounds one time. He took 315 and benched it 10 times like it was a loaf of Wonder Bread."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
RICH ARDEN/ESPN IMAGES (LEVY AND SCOTT)
JAMIE MCCARTHY/GETTY IMAGES (WAGNER)
JOE ROBBINS/GETTY IMAGES (FLACCO)
JIM SPELLMAN/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (WAHLBERG)