The public will forever remain divided on the admiration it has for the NBA’s biggest stars, but many fans agree that there’s one figure involved with basketball who deserves universal love: Craig Sager.
The legendary sideline reporter died today, according to Turner Sports, after a long battle with acute myeloid leukemia. Sager was 65.
“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. There will never be another Craig Sager,” David Levy, president of Turner, wrote in a statement. “His incredible talent, tireless work ethic and commitment to his craft took him all over the world covering sports. While he will be remembered fondly 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.”
Regardless of the notoriety of the coaches or players being interviewed, Sager owned the spotlight. The charismatic basketball expert was the star of TNT basketball broadcasts, with a beaming smile and his signature flamboyant suits that demanded attention.
Sager’s style also had an influence on the world of sneakers, specifically the Air Jordan 1. Music mogul-DJ Khaled rocked the one-of-two Sager-inspired Air Jordan 1 in the Oct. 10 issue of Footwear News.
Khaled said of Sager, “We all love Craig Sager; he’s a legend. If you love basketball, you follow him and his amazing outfits that he wears, and it’s great that Jordan made him a shoe, and I’m happy to have it. Have I had lunch or dinner with him? No. Have I been on the basketball court and seen him? Of course I have. I’ve met him, but I don’t know if he knows me.”
With news of Sager’s passing, stars of the court and other celebrities paid their respects via Twitter.