This past Thursday the NBA mourned a loss of a reporter who was just as important to the NBA as a Russell Westbrook triple-double or a thunderous jam from Lebron James. None other than the one and only Craig Sager the longtime sideline reporter for Turner Sports passed away from a long battle with Leukemia at the age of 65. Kudos to the league for honoring Sager with warm up shirts sporting a colorful suit he would of worn to another night of work each and every week. Sager has been everywhere from asking Hank Aaron a question on the field when he passed Babe Ruth to walking the fairways during the PGA Championship. No matter the assignment Sager nailed it with a tireless work ethic and a personality that stood out no matter where he went. Sager’s peers would say even if they worked for another network. He would not just be gracious in greeting everybody who approached him and make himself available to talk to fans and get pictures for anybody who requested of him. He would even share stories happening in the locker room or an injury during the game to help out a fellow reporter even if they weren’t co-workers.
The players adored Sager, Dennis Rodman gave a heart felt goodbye sharing that Sager saved his life in 1993 when Sager talked Rodman out of not committing suicide at a strip club while Rodman was playing for Detroit. Even though players and San Antonio Head Coach Gregg Popovich gave him a lot of flack for his suits. It was all in good fun due to the respect that Sager received across the league for his work. He would tell Jason Terry throughout his career to play well. Terry would say he would look forward to each interview he would receive with Sager. His colleagues at Turner Sports would say how prepared he was and a bright light everyone would look to each and every meeting before a game he would be covering.
In July at the ESPY’s Sager was honored with the Jimmy V perseverance award and delivered a powerful speech that will be remembered for decades to come. In that speech the quote of "Time is something that cannot be bought; it cannot be wagered with God, and it is not in endless supply. Time is simply how you live your life.". That message will live on forever and will motivate others going through rigorous cancer treatment who continue to fight each and every day to continue winning the battle. The term “Sager Strong” will be etched in our minds and deserves the recognition he made his fight with Leukemia so prevalent where he was victorious. The NBA will miss you more than words can explain. The big guy upstairs will be elated to welcome you with open arms even if the suit you would be wearing looks like a peacock and we wouldn’t want it any other way.