Craig Sager, Beloved Longtime Sports Broadcaster, Died at Age 65
After battling acute myeloid leukemia for nearly three years, Turner Sports broadcasting legend Craig Sager has died. His imprint on broadcast journalism transcends sports. His name became synonymous with an international health centered movement – Sager Strong.
The Sager Strong movement was a public response to news of Sager’s battle with leukemia. After chemotherapy and an unprecedented three bone marrow transplants, Sager was in remission, but returned. Sager informed the world during an interview with Bernard Goldberg for HBO’s Real Sports that doctors gave him a 3-6 month prognosis.
Sager made his mark as an NBA sideline reporter. Most on-court reporters avoid making bold statements. Not Craig Sager. Verbally and aesthetically, Sager left an impression with everyone he encountered. He strung together language and outfits like no other. Wearing sharp, ultra bright suits, or clashing patterns, Sager never fell into obscurity.
His personality matched his unique style. Realizing his dress was a gateway for strengthening bonds those he interviewed, Sager allowed players and coaches to comment on his wardrobe without filter.
For sports reporters, trust and rapport with players and coaches is critical to success. Sager built both with every superstar and coach in the NBA over the span of his illustrious career. Seldom venturing into the personal, Sager restricted the focus of his pre and postgame interviews to stratagem and basketball related dialogue. In an era dominated by skepticism of media members, Sager maintained personal relationships with coaches and athletes that was uncompromised by the pressures of the deadlines or storylines.
Sager’s diagnosis did not deter him from fighting to preserve every ounce of life. Enduring an unprecedented three bone marrow transplants failed to give Sager the long-term solution he was fighting for. But as Craig Sager said, “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.”