The posthumous memoir by the sportscaster who brought hip-hop to ESPN and subsequently showed his strength of character through his fight with cancer.
Though Scott was once mainly known for his “Booyah!” catch phrase (which he explains the origin of here), this memoir shows what a mistake it would be to underestimate the man or his cultural influence. About half of it is what one would expect from a cancer memoir: the mysterious pain, the diagnosis, the operations, the chemotherapy, the false hope of an illusory remission, the support from family and friends, the unwitting insensitivity from others. Yet some of the most moving parts of the book have little to do with cancer—mainly showing what a devoted father Scott was to his two daughters—and some of the most revelatory sections reflect the dynamic between the sports journalism establishment (overwhelmingly white) and the athletes they cover (predominantly black). “I’ve been criticized for being too chummy with and soft on athletes,” he writes. “That critique is born of a very particular type of journalism: one in which predominantly white, middle-aged writers and broadcasters judge young, often black, athletes. I’ll ask tough questions, if need be. But they’ll be in service of explaining rather than judging.” Within such a culture clash, Scott was also closer in age to many of these athletes, sharing the culture of hip-hop that seemed to mystify or annoy older white fans (and broadcasters) but plainly resonated with a larger, younger part of the audience. So this is also the story of how he got to be where he was (unlike others, he had never aspired to ESPN). It’s also the story of a man who felt blessed by what life gave him and even learned to appreciate the perspective that terminal cancer afforded him: “It makes you look fresh at small moments and see them—really see them—as if for the first time.”
A class act and a courageous voice to the end.