BOSTON – Jay Harris closed his address during the 2014 National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention this morning with a request.
He asked the estimated 300 people attending the Sports Task Force Mentorship Breakfast Powered by ESPN to salute his fellow SportsCenter colleague and friend Stuart Scott.
Those assembled stood and yelled Scott’s trademark “Boo-yah!” as Harris, standing on the podium, panned the Sheraton Hotel ballroom with an iPad (photo, above) to capture the video.
Scott, who has battled cancer since 2007, is undergoing radiation treatment today. He was not able to attend this breakfast, where he was slated to be keynote speaker.
— Stuart Scott (@StuartScott) July 31, 2014
But Scott did send greetings via cell phone video, thanking the NABJ for an “Award Of Merit” – a “pillow” mounted on a plaque in recognition of one of his trademark sayings. He also claimed he would have won the annual gathering’s golf tourney had he been able to attend.
Harris served as keynote speaker in Scott’s stead. But Scott, via a text, reminded his friend that he was no “fill-in” as featured speaker. That advice inspired Harris’ address.
“He told me to ‘do me’,” Harris said. “I am Jay Harris. [But I’m also] Stuart Scott. I’m [former SportsCenter anchor] Robin Roberts. . . I’ve been shaped by so many people, and I’m reminded of that every time I go on the air.”
The importance of forming mentor-mentee relationships was the thrust of the ESPN-sponsored breakfast.
“Don’t forget the people who make you who you are,” Harris said.
Dozens of ESPN employees are at the annual NABJ gathering for the five-day event, working in the Career Fair recruiting booths and networking with peers. In addition, commentators Jemele Hill, Michael Wilbon, J.A. Adande, Chris Broussard and Bomani Jones are among those providing their perspectives on seminar panels.