Master of the Mojo: A Conversation with ESPN's Stuart Scott

Labeled "super" because of the wide range of state primaries contested and convention delegates awarded, last Tuesday witnessed the resounding victories of Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush and the subsequent demise of the insurgent candidates, McCain and Bradley.

However, Tuesday was also "super" because ESPN "Sportscenter" anchor Stuart Scott came to Harvard.

Scott, who is widely known for his catch phrases and colorful personality as one of ESPN's most dynamic and informative analysts, came to Harvard to speak to Sam Fulwood's Institute of Politics study group, "Race, Media and Politics." He was gracious enough to spend some time candidly discussing his life, his work and his ambitions.


The Harvard Crimson: As a host of ESPN's "Sportscenter," you're known for your unique style and inventive vocabulary. Some of my favorite sayings include "He's gotta be buttah, 'cause he's on a roll," "Mojo! BIG Mojo!" and the ubiquitous "Boo-yah!" What is your favorite catch phrase?

Stuart Scott: I don't think I have a personal favorite. My favorite thing I've ever said on the air, as far as catch phrases goes, involves my daughter. I have two daughters, one who is four months and one who is five years old. When my five-year-old was two, she would say "Daddy, can I have another one candy" when she would want some more candy. So, my favorite catch phrase--if someone hit two home runs in a game--I would say "another one home run, Daddy." It's my favorite because it involves my daughter, and it's nice when I can get her on TV.

THC: As many have observed, you tell sports stories with the language of urban America. What sort of feedback have you received, and do you think your current fame is a validation of the way you tell sports stories?

SS: I never felt like I needed to be validated. I knew that as long as I worked hard, wrote well, did my own research, busted my hump to look up facts and figures, no one could make me feel like I shouldn't be doing what it is I'm doing. Not that people haven't tried, but I don't validate myself based on what other people think. I don't do this because I try to be someone else.

What you see from everybody who does "Sportscenter" is some extension of their personality. The way I talk on TV is not the way I talk all the time. But off-camera, it is the way I talk a lot of the time. I feel there are times when it is appropriate to fall into a more comfortable usage of slang. If I'm hanging with my fellas or if we were sitting watching a game, drinking a beer, and Shaq starts doing what he did the other day--scoring 61 points [against the Clippers]--I'd say, "Shaq is killing them kids … he is just housing them. Come on man, come on Shaq, don't hurt 'em." That's part of who I am. That's part of the music I listen to.

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