Craig Sager Dead At 65 Following Battle With Leukemia

Craig Sager , the NBA sideline press reporter who brought delight to countless fans, gamers, coaches and fellow media members through his flamboyant fits and kinetic character, has actually passed away following a long fight with leukemia, Turner President David Levy revealed Thursday. He was 65.

“ Craig Sager was a cherished member of the Turner household for more than 3 years and he has actually been a real motivation to everybody, ” Levy stated in a declaration. “ There will never ever be another Craig Sager. His extraordinary skill, vigorous work principles and dedication to his craft took him all over the world covering sports.”

“ While he will be remembered fondly for this vibrant outfit and the TNT sideline interviews he carried out with NBA gamers and coaches, it’ s the decision, grace and will to live he showed throughout his fight with cancer that will be his enduring effect. Our prayers and ideas are with Craig’ s better half, Stacy, and the whole Sager household throughout this tough time. We will permanently be Sager Strong.”

Sager had actually been inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame simply this last Tuesday in New York City.

In over 4 years as a sports press reporter, Sager ended up being a cherished member of the NBA neighborhood, leading TNT ’ s NBA broadcasts with poignant sideline interviews and fancy matches that just he would attempt to endure cam. While his matches were the source of an enormous variety of jokes in NBA arenas– Kevin Garnett as soon as hilariously informed Sager to burn his clothing after a video game in 2009– they were necessary to who Sager was and how he got the love of a lot of individuals included with the NBA . To audiences, it ’ s likewise how he ended up being the most noticeable face on NBA sidelines. Players and coaches go and come at arenas, however for fans, Sager stayed a basketball constant.

He ’d put on outrageous rainbow-colored striped coats one day and ridiculous plaid trousers the next– every night his fits developed into something various, fresh and enjoyable. The fits were a trick, sure– starting with a black, yellow and white seersucker fit he purchased a Goodwill shop prior to his very first on-air tryout as a weatherman in 1974– however it unquestionably made him an immediate standout anywhere he went.

Sager was outrageous in his style options, as well as won the regard of contrarian commissioner David Stern, whose better half as soon as safeguarded Sager ’ s matches so emphatically that Stern ultimately withdrawed on insulting Sager ’ s sense of design.

“ Sports are expected to be enjoyable, therefore I have a good time with the method I dress, ” he informed Bleacher Report in 2015.

The very same can be stated about his method to sideline reporting. Ordinary concerns and a dull sense of interest– sights that are all too typical throughout in-game sideline interviews with coaches and gamers– were never ever a concern with Sager. Coaches and gamers felt his energy and genuineness, and in return, generally reacted with more fervid, comprehensive responses. Sager brought an unique enthusiasm to his occupation, and individuals he covered typically rerouted those vibes back into Sager ’ s outstretched mic.

Sager ’ s unapologetic expression of himself and his die-hard dedication to covering sports in a fun-for-the-whole-family, well-intentioned way made universal love from the NBA neighborhood.

He established an unique bond with San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, a surly veteran of almost 3 years of NBA training understood for offering one-note replies and freely buffooning press reporter concerns throughout interviews. Popovich can devitalize any unstable press reporter with his excessively honest, unfiltered responses, however around Sager, he ended up being silly and personalized– a total 180 from a coach whose variety of feeling has the tendency to wander in between stoic and exasperated.

Sager gets his pocket selected by Popovich.

In an interview with HBO ’ s “ Real Sports, ” “”target= “_ blank”> Popovich summarized Sager’ s concrete on-the-court effect completely:

“ He ’ s simply been such a real individual who truly does enjoy the NBA and likes the video game, and it comes through and youunderstand that, ” he stated. “ Even though he does exactly what he does style-and fashion-wise, you understand it ’ s part of the shtick. His concerns are constantly reasonable, they ’ re constantly answerable and he does it with enjoyable. He does it with humor. I respond tothat really favorably. We have an excellent time together. ”

The set ’ s relationship has actually reinforced over the last few years, sadly due to Sager ’ s decreasing health. He was very first detected with leukemia in April 2014, and needed to miss out on covering the NBA playoffs that year. A life-saving bone marrow transplant from his kid Craig Jr. saw him recuperate and return to covering the NBA in March 2015, however a year later on, he revealed that his leukemia had actually returned. He continued to resolve the return of his most current cancer, getting well-wishes and kind overtures from almost every interview topic.


Whenever broadcasters would cut to Sager, he constantly appeared like he was having the most enjoyable in the space, like he felt grateful and so fortunate to have the task that he had. At any sporting occasion, he ’d initially get observed for his match, and after that get applauded for a task well done, doing work that ended up being instilled in the memoriesof fans seeing traditional sports minutes.

It was Sager who ran the bases with Hank Aaron after he broke Babe Ruth ’ s crowning achievement record in 1974. It was Sager who slept along with Seattle Slew the night prior to the horse won the 1977 Triple Crown. It was Sager who bailed Morganna “ The Kissing Bandit ” Roberts from prison after she ran onto the field throughout the 1979 MLB All-Star video game. Through his own instinct and love for sports, he wiggled himself into playing a part of memorable minutes.

After less than a years of covering sports on tv in the midwest, Sager signed on to CNN in 1981 as worker No. 343 after being charmed by Ted Turner. He covered the Olympics and the World Cup prior to signing up with TNT ’ s NBA transmitted group in 1991 as the very first sideline press reporter in NBA history. He ’ s been making sportscasting history since.

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