Longtime ESPN personality Stuart Scott was honored with the Jimmy V Perseverence Award at last night’s ESPY Awards. To say he knocked his acceptance speech out of the park does not do it justice, nor would any other tired sports cliché. To say it ranks among the pantheon of great awards show speeches that fully transcended their events — Jim Valvano territory, if you will — would be more accurate.
Watch the full speech above. The segment starts with a Kiefer Sutherland intro and a short film about Stuart’s fight with cancer, and the entire thing is worthy of your undivided attention. If you must skip right to the speech, jump to the seven-minute mark. And if you can’t watch the speech, here are some gems for you to digest (lamentably free of the context and emotion laid out by Scott):
“Every day, I’m reminded that our life’s journey is really about the people who touch us.”
“I’m not losing.”
“When you die, it doesn’t mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.”
“I cannot leave my daughters.”
And of course: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”
Scott winds down his speech with a wonderful tribute to the people who’ve stood by his side during his fight with cancer and — rather than draw upon the writing skills he’s polished while putting together thousands of ESPN segments over the years to hammer home one final exclamation point — closes by calling his youngest daughter on stage for a much-needed hug. Perfection.