3-D Era Remembered
3-D Era Remembered Dennis' Magical Moments Games I'll Never Forget Career Statistics
3-D Era Remembered
“I just thank God every day for my personality and my jump shot,” he says.
At 37, Scott says he hasn’t lost his shooting touch or his itch to still play but concedes “I know the league isn’t looking for an old guy who can shoot. They want a young guy who can run and jump to the moon.”
Nonetheless, he has surrounded himself with the game, starting with his position as analyst for the Atlanta Hawks Radio Network.
“It’s just like being a player,” Scott said. “You fly on the plane with the guys, you stay in the same hotel, you have the same camaraderie. I enjoy talking to guys like Joe Johnson, Al Harrington. They’re so young, they’re asking me what’s it like going to the Finals? What’s it like to be in a Game 7? What’s it like breaking the (NBA single-season) three-point record?
“That part for me is gratitude in itself that I’m still associated with the league. Being able to be around the game, being able to articulate what I see and what I’ve gone through, it’s a lot of fun. And when the game is over, my knees don’t hurt.”
While Scott has an impact on players who have made it to the NBA, there is another group who relies on his advice even more. Last May, Scott was named general manager of the Atlanta Vision, one of 34 ABA teams. He is a true hands-on manager, practicing with the team as much as his schedule allows. The Vision is filled with NBA hopefuls who give Scott their full attention.
“It’s like E.F. Hutton,” Scott said. “When I’m talking and they see I’m serious, you can hear a pin drop because guys are focusing on my words and they know I’m not just pie-in-the-sky telling them a story. It’s my experience.”
Scott has guided Atlanta into the 16-team playoffs – gaining attention for publicly offering a contract to embattled All-Pro wide receiver Terrell Owens along the way – and he’s using this ABA experience to hopefully fulfill his 1990 vision of becoming an NBA general manager. In a way, Scott says he and the ABA players aren’t so different in that they all share a goal of proving their NBA value.
“You let them know that if they were as good as they thought they were they wouldn’t be in my gym,” Scott said. “That’s how I start off each practice. I say ‘guys you all have a dream and a passion. The reason I chose to be the general manager of this team is because one day I want to be a general manager in the NBA. So I decided to humble myself and check my ego at the door and say I’m trying to learn how to assemble a team to win a championship.’ ”
While Scott works toward that goal, he’s plenty content with life in broadcasting. He fell in love with the microphone and public speaking in high school when he participated on the drama team, acting out soap opera scenes and role playing with his classmates. He also was greatly impacted by a reporter named James Brown who used to cover Scott’s high school games.
Brown, who has gone on to earn national broadcasting fame with CBS and now as co-host of FOX NFL Sunday, was a role model for Scott.
“He turned down (basketball scholarships to) North Carolina, UCLA, all these other schools to go to Harvard,” Scott said. “I was like ‘wow, Harvard … Ivy League school … African-American guy … smart … and he decides to be a broadcaster.’ He was the first person who said ‘when I’m done playing ball, that’s what I want to do.’ ”
Scott didn’t wait for his career to end to get behind the microphone. While playing for the Magic, he hosted “The Dennis Scott Show” and the “The Highlight Zone” on the weekend.
He later made guest appearances on some Nickelodeon sitcoms and has served as a studio analyst for FSN and as a sideline reporter for CBS. He also participated in the ESPN-produced “Dream Job” reality show, finishing third among six former NBA players who competed for a studio analyst position.
Being on camera comes just as easily as letting it fly from three-point range for Scott.
“Certain guys, they see the camera and they get scared,” Scott said. “For some reason, the camera has always been my best friend.”
In addition to his professional obligations, Scott has three children and a new wife to keep him busy. He and Rachael married a year ago and they have a 6-month-old son, Dennis Scott III.
“I tell people I’m 3-D because I had to earn it shooting threes,” Scott said. “He’s the real 3-D because he’s the third-born Dennis.”
Scott also has a son, Ryan, who just completed his freshman season playing for the College of Charleston. Ryan is a 6-foot-3 guard who honors his father by wearing No. 3. And Scott also has a 13-year-old daughter, Crystal, who he recently gained custody of. Crystal also dabbles in basketball and is an honor roll student.
Scott is excited about returning to Orlando on March 26 when the Magic will honor him during the team’s “Commitment To The Past Nights” program.
“It’s a huge honor,” Scott said. “What makes it so special is that the organization sees the seven-year run we had there was huge. That team was so special that I don’t know if you can ever get a team like that again.
“Myself, Nick (Anderson), Penny (Hardaway) and Shaq (O’Neal) were all drafted there and our careers started there. We were really like Orlando’s kids. We kind of grew up right in front of those diehard fans.”
Scott Wallin, a freelance writer who lives in Oviedo, is a regular contributor to Magic Magazine and orlandomagic.com