Sports, media worlds pay tribute to Craig Sager

Story highlights

Turner Sports reporter Craig Sager died Thursday at 65

Such figures as Hank Aaron, Isaiah Thomas and Keith Olbermann paid tribute

CNN —  

Craig Sager was more than just a courtside reporter in flashy suits to his colleagues and to the athletes and coaches he interviewed for more than two decades.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said: “Craig was as vital to the NBA as the players and coaches. … . Craig earned widespread respect for his insightful reporting and inspired so many most recently with his courage.”

Sager’s death from cancer Thursday prompted widespread tributes, many on social media.

His Turner Sports coworker Greg Anthony tweeted: “There is just no better person, colleague and friend… my thoughts and prayers are with his family and our Turner sports family.”

Sager was a fixture on national NBA broadcasts, part of his 40-plus year career that also included working at CNN (owned by Turner Broadcasting) and covered major sporting events like the World Cup and the Olympics.

Here is a sampling of other reactions from those whose lives Sager touched.

His son, Craig Sager II, wrote: “We packed a lifetime and then some into these 28 years together. Pay it forward time!”

Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron knew Sager for more than 30 years after meeting him on the field after Aaron’s record-setting 715th home run in 1974.

“Craig Sager was there when I crossed the plate for #715 & has been a friend ever since. I thought the world of him & he will be sorely missed,” Aaron said.

Former NBA player Dennis Rodman, a colorful character in his own right, tweeted, “Craig Sager thanks for saving my life when I was in dire need of help in Detroit back in 1993.”

Rodman was referring to an episode, chronicled in a Sports Illustrated profile of Sager, when the sportscaster tracked down the distraught player in a Detroit strip club and talked him out of committing suicide.

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas sent his prayers to the Sager family.

The NBA on TNT tweeted, “We are forever #SagerStrong,” a reference to Sager’s resilient fight against acute myeloid leukemia

“Cancer, you suck,” wrote USA Today columnist Nancy Armour.

Longtime broadcaster Keith Olbermann, who once worked for CNN, recalled one of the struggles the two had in the 1980s working for a new company.

AP writer Jon Krawczynski called Sager one of the best sports reporters in the industry. “What a fighter. What a life. Rest In Peace to one of the true giants in this business,” he tweeted.

And the Atlanta Hawks posted a photo on Instagram of one of Sager’s best (worst?) suits, saying simply, “RIP, friend.”