Colorful NBA contributor Sager dies after conflict with cancer

HOUSTON (AP) — Craig Sager never once suspicion about giving adult as he battled cancer for some-more than dual years.

“Man, life is too beautiful, too wonderful, there’s only too many things,” he pronounced in late Aug from a sanatorium bed in Houston. “It’s not only you. It’s your family and kids and all. Fight. Fight until a end. Fight as tough as we can.”

The finish for a dear TNT broadcaster came Thursday when a male famous as many for his vast habit as his relations with a NBA’s chosen succumbed to an assertive form of leukemia. Turner Sports announced his genocide but disclosing details. He was 65 and had worked basketball games for TNT for scarcely a quarter-century.

“There will never be another Craig Sager,” Turner President David Levy said. “His implausible talent, untiring work ethic and joining to his qualification took him all over a universe covering sports.”

His son, Craig Jr., posted a amatory video reverence to his father, tweeting: “We packaged a lifetime and afterwards some into these 28 years together.”

Sager’s flitting brought out condolences from each dilemma of a NBA and Hall of Famer Larry Bird voiced what many were feeling.

“He was as identifiable with a NBA as any actor or coach,” Bird said. “The joining will not be a same but him.”

Magic Johnson echoed those sentiments on Twitter.

“The NBA family mislaid a fable who altered a approach sideline reporters did their job. RIP Craig Sager,” Johnson said.

It wasn’t only a NBA village that mourned his flitting , with Vice President Joe Biden and Drake expressing unhappiness during a loss.

Sager had dual bone pith transplants with his son as a donor before undergoing a third one from an unknown donor 4 months ago.

He announced in Apr 2014 that he had been diagnosed with strident myeloid leukemia, and he missed a playoffs and many of a following deteriorate as he underwent a initial dual transplants. Sager suggested in Mar 2016 that his leukemia was no longer in remission. He pronounced doctors told him a standard augury was 3 to 6 months to live.

He was impressed by how news of his quarrel widespread and people opposite a universe started articulate about a Sager Strong campaign.

His conflict brought out a soothing side of Gregg Popovich, a irritated San Antonio Spurs manager with whom he had many noted exchanges during in-game interviews.

Sager never faulted Popovich for his plain-spoken opinion during those interviews. After training Sager had died, Popovich spoke somberly for scarcely dual mins before a diversion in Phoenix.

“If any of us can arrangement half a bravery he has to stay on this planet, to live each life as if it’s his last, we’d be good off,” Popovich said.

Sager sported suits in each tone of a rainbow and copiousness of shades not found in nature, from teal to fuchsia to magenta. He would compare plaid blazers with paisley ties or striped shirts — all in confidant hues.

Sometimes mislaid in a glisten of his habit was Sager’s relentless inlet as a reporter. Every time Popovich would give a succinct non-answer, an unfazed Sager would peppers him with another question.

Sager’s diligence was on arrangement during a start of his career during age 22.

Working for a Braves-affiliated AM radio hire in Sarasota, Florida, he hopped a moody to Atlanta for a diversion with Hank Aaron a home run divided from violation Babe Ruth’s career record. After Aaron strike a homer, Sager sprinted onto a margin and wound adult chasing Aaron down a third-base line. When Aaron’s teammates mobbed him during home plate, Sager can be seen in his ditch cloak in a center of a scrum.

Sager worked as a contributor on a Olympics, Major League Baseball playoffs, a NFL and a NCAA Tournament, among other sports. But he was indelibly connected to a NBA.

“Craig was as critical to a NBA as a players and coaches,” Silver said. “Craig warranted widespread honour for his judicious stating and desirous so many many recently with his courage.”

Sager got to cover his initial NBA Finals in 2016 by an surprising arrangement between TNT and ESPN, that invited him to join a coverage. He noted a arise by wearing a blazer with a stately blue floral print. In an talk with LeBron James after Game 6, a Cavaliers star incited a tables to giddily ask Sager a question: “How in a ruin do we go 30-plus years but removing a Finals game?”

A local of Batavia, Illinois, Sager attended Northwestern, where he walked onto a football and basketball teams, and served as a school’s “Willie a Wildcat” mascot for 3 years.

He worked during several TV and radio stations in Florida after college before spending dual years in Kansas City. Sager assimilated CNN in 1981 after doing a network’s initial live remote news during a 1980 ball playoffs.

Sager was in Dallas for a diversion in Apr 2014 when he felt ill and sought diagnosis from Mavericks group medicine Dr. Tarek Souryal, who had formerly achieved Sager’s knee surgery. With a dangerously low hemoglobin count, Sager had 6 blood transfusions over a 24-hour duration before returning to Atlanta. After that came a treatments and his open conflict with leukemia.


AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds and AP freelance author Jose M. Romero contributed to this report.

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