Just days after he was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Craig Sager passed away at the age of 65. He died from leukemia and leaves his wife and five children. The longtime reporter was known for his colorful and fluorescent wardrobe, that only he could pull off. Sager was an inspiring man for his enthusiasm for the game of basketball and even more so for his endless fight against cancer. He spent more than 20 years as an NBA courtside reporter and was extremely good at his job. Former NBA player and current Turner Sports studio analyst, Kenny Smith once said: “No matter who you are, what stature you are in the NBA, from rookie to perennial All-Star, he’s going to make you answer the question.”
It’s hard to believe, but Sager’s life had more color to it than just his suits. In high school, Sager was the mascot and as he attended college in Tampa he held a weatherman job on a small television station. Sager started covering sports in 1974 on the day that Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record and although he was only 22 years old and being paid $95 per week, he was still among the huge mob of people around Aaron after he hit #715. Sager began reporting for TNT in 1990 and that is when his infamous suits became his hallmark. He never wore the same suit and tie combination twice and was said to have owned over 100 pairs of dress shoes. His leukemia diagnosis came in April of 2014 and he was determined to beat it. By August Sager had gone through three bone marrow transplants and in July, accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPY’s. Sager gave a moving speech about his cancer battle, stressing he would “never give up.” and that he would “continue to keep fighting sucking the marrow out of life as life sucks the marrow out of me.”
Sager was one of the most genuine people and was much more than just a man in colorful suits. He loved his job, his family, his colleagues, all the NBA’s players, coaches and fans and the best part was that everyone loved him back. His colorful suits and personality will be deeply missed by everyone. Thank you for showing the world to never give up hope no matter what the circumstances are; R.I.P Craig Sager.