If you are an avid SportsCenter viewer, you are no doubt familiar with Randy Scott. He’s been with the Worldwide Leader since 2012 and is a fixture on SportsCenter:AM from 7-10 a.m. ET Thursday-Saturday.
Scott has showed his versatility by working with a variety of different anchors during his time at ESPN. Most recently, he went viral for his opening lead-in to the show following the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.
We caught up with Scott recently for our “21 Questions” series and asked about how he handled that moment, the life of growing up as a Navy brat, his incredible daily commute and much, much more. Get ready to find out more about Randy than you ever thought you would.
1. Your SportsCenter lead-in the morning after Kobe Bryant’s death was incredibly poignant. You spoke about being a dad and how the tragedy hit you. How tough was it to stay composed and deliver that intro?
RS: That was a pretty tough one, no question. And I think it was because of how the tragedy resonated with me, and with other parents. He’s an all-world, generational, worldwide superstar. But where we could connect and identify with him was as a father. And thinking about his family having to start this new chapter, this new life without him and without Gianna, it’s still so heartbreaking.
2. Kobe Bryant was the first superstar athlete a lot of people connected with growing up. What athletes did you look up to most as a kid?
RS: For me, it was John Smoltz, Michael Jordan, and Bo Jackson. Smoltzie is kind of the outlier there because he didn’t have a shoe deal or a Saturday morning cartoon, but he was my favorite baseball player and baseball was my first love. He was such an animal in the playoffs. And a heck of a golfer, too.
3. Hollywood decides to make a movie about your life. What actor would you want to play you?
RS: Bradley Cooper. He’s a sports fan, would be a tremendous SportsCenter anchor, and he has the sense of humor to accurately portray my sarcasm and sleep-deprived attempts at jokes.
4. You have done stand-up comedy in the past. What was that experience like for you and what made you get into it?
RS: I want to preface this by saying I was never a professional stand-up. And I say that because it’s not only true, but it’s important to show respect for the people who make a career out of it and who go up as often as they can and make a life out of it. Because that’s such a tough business and they work so hard on their material and their delivery.
I did it from maybe November 2008 to early summer 2010 because I didn’t have a full-time contract in TV that could have prohibited me, and because I’d always been a big stand-up comedy fan and had always wanted to try it.
I got to a point where I had a loose and not-all-that-good 20 minutes, and got to “middle” a couple of times. It’s such a rush to do and terrifying at times, but it’s a year and a half of my life that I wouldn’t trade for much.
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Quick kids, make a wish! It’s a shooting star. Not just the man @martysmithespn, but the fact @rb_mrs & I caught him on one of his EXTREMELY rare visits to campus here @ESPN. *********** Go get Marty’s book.. “Never Settle: Sports, Family, and the American Soul” because a good man and a hell of a writer wrote it. 💪 🏈 🎸 ************ Photo courtesy of Marty because I couldn’t figure out how to repost it.
5. As a kid, your family moved around a lot because your dad was in the Navy. What were some of the places you guys lived?
RS: The best: San Diego, California. They call it “America’s Finest City” for a reason.
We also lived in Newport, Rhode Island, which I’ve come to appreciate as a vacation destination as I’ve gotten older. But all I remember is saltwater air and the effect it had on house and car paint.
6. What was the best movie you saw in 2019?
RS: I can’t lie: I don’t get to see a lot of movies because of the work schedule and because of my 3 young kids. That said, I saw Joker, Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4 this year. And Frozen 2 gets my vote.
7. Rank these from best to worst: Pancakes, waffles, french toast.
RS: Pancakes first
French Toast second
8. What is the best sports month of the year and why?
RS: It’s October for me. College football is into conference play, the NFL has shaken off the “extended preseason” feel of the first couple weeks of the season, baseball is into its postseason, and hockey and basketball start up. It’s the best.
9. You’ve worked with a bunch of different people on SportsCenter over the years. How do you make sure you have a strong rapport with whoever you’re paired up with?
RS: I used to keep a list of all the different people I’d done at least one show with, and I think that list is up over 50 by now? The only way to really try to develop some chemistry with whomever your anchoring (especially the first time) is to be social at the pre-show pod where you write your part of the show. Talk about 2-shots, talk about who should start Top Plays, defer to whatever sports they like the most, etc. Then go out there and don’t ball hog.
10. Your wife anchors in Boston, and you obviously work in Bristol. You guys live near Boston, so that makes for quite the interesting commute for you, right? What is that like?
RS: Hahaha, we moved from Connecticut back up to the Boston area for my wife’s job, and my commute is… something. I drive about 110 miles each way, but the upside is there’s never any traffic. I’m on the road in the middle of the night because I have to be there at 4 a.m., and then I’m driving back in the middle of the day. I basically sleep in two 3-4 hour shifts, but somehow we’ve made it work for almost four years.
11. When you commute, what do you listen to? Radio? Podcasts?
RS: All the above. I get into my car and listen to SportsCenter All Night on ESPN Radio to get caught up on what I missed while I was sleeping. Then after that, I’ll listen to podcasts or maybe some of the standup comedy channels for the rest of my drive.
12. You’re a well-known movie buff. You can bring five movies with you to a deserted island. Which ones are you taking?
RS: I’m nothing compared to the movie buffs I’ve worked with at ESPN, but I obviously love movies.
In no particular order:
13. Sources tell me you love Cheez-Its. Can you confirm and if so, do you have a favorite kind?
RS: Your sources couldn’t be more correct. There are 7 different kinds in our cabinet right now, and I have to say the Cheesy Taco Grooves are my favorite right now.
14. You have three children, including a daughter. Taking that into account, what was it like seeing Elle Duncan’s #GirlDad hashtag take off and listening to her monologue after Kobe’s passing?
RS: It was a tough thing to watch, emotionally, so I can’t imagine how she was able to get through it. I know guys who don’t have a fraction of Kobe’s talent or athletic accomplishments who have at times lamented the fact they didn’t have a son, just had daughters. So to hear how proud Kobe was to have the girls he does, it was beyond touching. Then to see the hashtag go off the way it did, to see other dad’s share their pride in their daughters. It was beautiful, man.
15. Do you speak any languages other than English?
RS: I take lame attempts to speak very broken and embarrassingly bad Spanish.
16. I’ve asked this question to several media personalities. How do you handle the ups and downs of using social media?
RS: That’s a really tough one. I don’t think I’m all that qualified to give advice on it because I don’t think I handle it well. If something I post takes off in a bad way and really riles up a fan base (it’s happened with Louisville baseball and basketball a couple of times), I need to be better about not trying to respond to every single tweet, angry or otherwise. You don’t have to “swing at every pitch”, I think is my point. I just try to be funny, try to be informative or entertaining, and then if it doesn’t really land, just move on.
17. If you could do the highlights for one sporting event from history, what would it be?
RS: I’d love to do the Raiders Super Bowl win over the Redskins in 1984. That would be a tough one to disguise my Raider fandom, but I don’t think it’ll ever happen again in my lifetime so it would be great to savor it.
18. What is the most fun thing you and your wife have done with your kids recently?
RS: Probably taking them to see Frozen 2 a little after Christmas. There are some decently heavy themes in there, and our two older kids are smart enough to pick up on some of them so it led to some nice and sort of thoughtful conversations. Now that my schedule has calmed down after football season, we’ll be able to do more with them together.
19. Your father and grandfather both served in the military. What lessons did you learn from them thanks to their time in the service?
RS: Oh man, there are a few that I can’t type because of salty language. But the 5 P’s is one. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Make sure you practice situational awareness. I say things like “wheels up” and “blast off” and “zero dark thirty.” I motion my finger in a propeller motion when I’m signaling to my wife across the room that it’s probably time to start thinking about leaving wherever we are with the kids.
20. Pick one of these things as a career: superstar athlete, famous rock star, movie star.
RS: Superstar Athlete, hands down. You’d have the whole second act of your career to be a movie star.
21. Best and worst kids’ television shows?
RS: Best: Tigger and Pooh, my kids LOVE it.
Worst: there’s a certain pig that has made all three of my kids attempt a British accent at certain points in their young lives.
You can read more of our interviews with sports media stars here.