For nearly forty years, even if you weren’t familiar with his colorful interview style, it was impossible to miss the man in the distinctive (and no less colorful) blazers at NBA courtside. His name was Craig Sager, and for nearly four decades as a reporter for Turner Broadcasting, he was a fixture on NBA sidelines, well known for his affable, animated manner. Diagnosed with cancer in April 2014, Sager juggled a grueling treatment schedule treatment with his NBA coverage duties. Yesterday, at the age of 65, Sager passed away, leading to an outpouring of condolence messages from fans and athletes all over the world.
Born on June 29, 1951 in Illinois, Sager grew up into a high school basketball star, going on to play basketball and baseball at Northwestern University. A pair of concussions in his first year led to Sager giving up sports and taking on the role of team mascot as Willie the Wildcat.
Craig Sager began his broadcasting career in 1972 with a local Florida TV station, before rising to national prominence for his insightful manner of coverage. Freelance work would follow, before Sager signed on with CNN in 1981, where he would spend the next 35 years.
“There will never be another Craig Sager,” said Turner President David Levy. “His incredible talent, tireless work ethic and commitment to his craft took him all over the world covering sports.”
Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr led the Oracle Arena in a ‘Moment of Joy’ (in lieu of a moment of silence), paying tribute to the broadcast icon.
“While we considered a moment of silence, but we thought it more appropriate, given the way Craig lived his life and the joy he brought to so many people, to have a moment of joy instead,” Kerr told media.