Just over a week after the passing of the iconic ESPN anchor, Billboard spoke with Freddie Gibbs about the legacy that Stuart Scott left behind and the rapper’s own long-time admiration for the groundbreaking sportscaster.
Opening with a general note about the importance of sports in his life, Gibbs highlighted how the passion has spilled over to music with his ESGN branding.
“Sports is one of the keys to my life,” he said. “It definitely kept me out of a lot of trouble and gave me a lot of discipline. I’ve been engulfed in sports since I was a 2-year-old; I picked up any kind of ball — a basketball, baseball, football — I just loved to play something. I loved the energy of being in arenas and watching the game on TV. My father took me to a lot of sports events as a child and our TV stayed on ESPN. My TV to this day stays on ESPN; I always have at least one TV in the house locked on ESPN at all times. When I wanted to start my brand, I just combined the streets with the sports: ESGN.”
“Coming up in America in the ’80s and ’90s, we were not too far removed from slavery,” he continued. “People forget that. Those effects and that tone during those times in America lingers on in the Black community, so to see a Black man excel in something is always an achievement. For me to get up every morning and look at this guy on the TV… Stuart Scott was a hero.”
Speaking specifically to his death, Gibbs opened up on how Scott’s passing sparked an awareness of his own mortality.
“I found out about his passing early on Sunday when I turned on SportsCenter, and it wrecked my day,” the Pinata emcee said. “I feel like he was just on television at the ESPYs, speaking on fighting cancer, or on a special doing cage fighting to combat his illness, and keep his body fresh. He definitely didn’t look like the same Stuart Scott, but he was hanging in there and fighting. It teaches us a lesson. I’m gonna be real: A lot of guys in the Black community, we don’t have health insurance, we don’t go get check-ups, we don’t put our health first. We’re too busy out here trying to maintain, get money, do whatever we gotta do. We don’t go to the doctor enough. When I saw how he was combating cancer and how it came up on him so sudden, that made me step back and take a better look at my health and go and get care and insurance. I have a daughter on the way now. At first, I was just out here living for me, but I saw how he was fighting to live for his daughters and that really inspired me. It definitely brought a tear to my eye. That was a true inspiration. To see him be such an advocate for cancer and bringing awareness, he might have saved my life, with me going to the doctor to get check-ups.”
Generalizing about the impact that his death has had on the sports community and beyond, Gibbs added, “his legacy will be him educating us. To see him go so hard for that cause, that speaks volumes. Him, Jimmy Valvano, Robin Roberts. Stuart Scott inspired a generation, to say the least.”
For additional Freddie Gibbs coverage, watch the following DX Daily: