Craig Sager, one of America’s best-loved sports broadcasters, has died. He was 65.
Sager, who worked for Turner Sports for more than 30 years and was best known as an accomplished NBA sideline reporter, had been battling cancer. In March, Sager announced he had three to six months to live after doctors told him the leukaemia he has fought for two years was no longer in remission.
Turner Sports president David Levy said in a statement: “Craig Sager was a beloved member of the Turner family for more than three decades and he has been a true inspiration to all of us. His incredible talent, tireless work ethic and commitment to his craft took him all over the world covering sports.
“While he will be fondly remembered for his colorful attire and the TNT sideline interviews he conducted with NBA coaches and players, it’s the determination, grace and will to live he displayed during his battle with cancer that will be his lasting impact. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sager’s wife Stacy and the entire Sager family during this difficult time. We will be forever Sager Strong.”
Levy’s statement did not say when or where Sager died.
Sager’s son, also Craig, wrote on Twitter: “We packed a lifetime and then some into these 28 years together.”
Sager died just days after being inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
The Illinois-born Sager was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2014. He underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy and was re-admitted to hospital in late November 2016.
In June, Sager worked his very first NBA finals game, sideline reporting for Game 6 between the Cavaliers and the Warriors.
“First of all, let me ask you a question,” LeBron James said after the game. “How in the hell do you go 30-plus years without getting a finals game? That don’t make no sense. But I’m happy to see you, man. Much love and respect. I’m happy I was able to witness it in front of these fans. We really appreciate you.”
The National Basketball Players Association issued a statement on Thursday praising Sager’s contributions to the sport.
“Craig Sager was a one-of-a-kind reporter who embodied the spirit of the game of basketball in a truly colorful fashion,” it read. “Through his work, he was able to connect players, coaches and fans to the game we all love. The passion and fight he displayed during his battle with cancer is an inspiration to us all. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Sager family at this extremely difficult time.”