Stu Scott by Butch Ford
In 1993 the sports world was turned upside down when a brother from Chicago, Illinois, by the name of Stuart Orlando Scott, arrived in Bristol, Connecticut for the SportsCenter programming on the ESPN Network. The Vice president for talent, Al Jaffe, was summoned by his superiors to find new personalities who would appeal to a younger audience.
Scott, a graduate of The University of North Carolina, caught the eye of executives and viewers alike with his unique urban catchphrases and hip-hop style. It quickly caught on with the general population…and a star was born. Initially, the fear was that “the masses” would scoff at sports reported in this manner. Would it be perceived as “too urban?” Little did we know…Scott became a pioneer and trendsetter who changed the way sports are broadcast. He added swag and brought flavor to sports telecasts. And everyone followed in his footsteps.
Scott enjoyed a successful 22-year career with ESPN until he lost his lengthy battle with cancer in 2015. The entire sports world experienced a colossal loss with his passing. In addition to nightly SportsCenter programming, Scott was also commonly seen on NBA, NFL, MLB, and NCAA pre and post-game shows, as well. There’s an apparent void in the hearts of real sports fans that may not ever be filled.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I miss laughing at Stu’s wit and comical approach. He was engaging and commanded his audience. It always left you wanting more. You couldn’t wait to hear what he was going to say next. And he would never disappoint. It’s tough to watch SportsCenter these days, but if you listen close enough, you may hear a new school anchor give an ode to the legend known as Stuart Scott. We miss you, my brother.
Mamba…Out! by Butch Ford
Sunday January 26, 2020…A day we’ll all remember; where we were, what we were doing and how we felt upon hearing the devastating news of the helicopter accident that claimed the lives of Los Angeles Lakers’ Great Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter, Gianna, her friend Alyssa, her parents John & Keri Altobelli and the pilot, in Calabasas, California.
I’d reserved my thoughts, feelings and comments until after I was able to process everything. But as my timeline began to flood, my phone began to ring and my messages began to mount. I took time to reflect on my numerous memories and the unbelievable career accomplishments of the man nicknamed, The Black Mamba. Kobe was an 18 time All-Star, a 5 time NBA Champion and the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player. He entered the NBA as a teenager from Lower Merion High School (Pennsylvania) in 1996 and dazzled us for 20 incredible seasons.
Widely regarded as an All-Time NBA Great, Bryant leaves his wife Vanessa, three daughters, his parents, The NBA Fraternity and an entire world of fans to mourn his untimely demise. The Altobelli’s were survived by a son and a daughter. This was truly a sad day. Let’s pray for healing, strength and courage for the families. And let’s take better care of each other. For none of us know the day, the hour or the time we’re gonna be called home. God Bless Us All.
“Purplesploitation” by Butch Ford
In the 1970’s there was a term called Blaxploitation. It described an ethnic subgenre of exploitation films made by, of and for African Americans. But that’s a story for another day and time. Today, I want to discuss the term “Purplesploitation.” A term I created just this morning while trying to figure out a way to express my feelings regarding the handling of the legacy of the icon known as Prince. The heirs of the Prince Estate (his family) have been in constant litigation since his untimely passing in April of 2016.
Prince Rogers Nelson released over 40 albums in his prolific musical career, which spanned well over four decades. There’s also reports of an alleged vault which contains another several hundred unreleased songs, various concert tour recordings, and band rehearsals.
Prince, a child prodigy, turned musical genius from Minnesota…reportedly filmed everything during his illustrious 40-year career. He was considered passionate, driven, and a focused workaholic who worked tirelessly to perfect his craft. He was also very private, keeping unreleased music and the aforementioned recordings under strict lock and key.
Since passing, his estate has profited from the sale of his previously unreleased material, as well as other gems taken from “the vault”. As a lifelong fan, I’m a bit torn by the recent events. Although I’ve enjoyed hearing music that I would have never heard otherwise, I do believe it was his wishes to keep the contents of the vault locked away.
There’s no judgement on my part. I’m not questioning anyone’s motives. I’m just curious to know, what Prince would have wanted? By no means am I suggesting that this is exclusively for monetary gain. Nor am I implying that it’s a form of exploitation. It could just merely be a case of his family sharing hidden treasures with the world. But I’d still love to know his feelings regarding these actions. We’ll probably never know the truth.
On the bright side…be sure to check out “Piano & A Microphone (Live in 1983)”, “Purple Rain (Deluxe Edition)”, “Originals” and the forthcoming “1999 (Deluxe Edition). ALL PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED ALBUMS. They’re well worth the time and energy. Enjoy…