Our Community. Our Nation. Our World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Turner Sports Broadcaster Craig Sager Dies At 65

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Craig Sager, the longtime NBA courtside reporter for Turner Sports, has died. He was known for his sense of humor, his public battle with cancer and, it must be said, for his style.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Here's how he described that style in an interview with NPR in 2012.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CRAIG SAGER: Well, let's see. I'm looking right here. I've got a pair of black alligator shoes that actually have the eyeballs in them. I've got another pair next to them. These are crocodile, and then I got a pair of ostrich. I don't know. It's just something - my personality. I just like lively colors.

SIEGEL: And garish suits, gigantic lapels, clashing patterns - no suit was too loud.

CORNISH: He told us it was a practical decision.

SAGER: I like to wear bright colors. It helps out to spot me in the audience when my camera guys are looking for me to do interviews.

CORNISH: But underneath those clothes was a reporter remembered for his craft. Here's his former TNT colleague Rachel Nichols remembering him today on her show "The Jump" on ESPN 2.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE JUMP")

RACHEL NICHOLS: I think the suits and the crazy persona sort of hints, in fact, how good he was. I remember so clearly so many times watching Craig do his job and think, that's what I want to do.

CORNISH: Sager had a long sports reporting career before his courtside gig. He slept in the stall with Seattle Slew before that horse won the Triple Crown.

SIEGEL: He interviewed Hank Aaron after he broke Babe Ruth's home run record - technically before he broke it. Sager was by Hank Aaron's side with a microphone as Aaron ran from third base to home plate. When Sager was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014, he continued to work as his health allowed.

CORNISH: He was open about his illness. This year, he received an ESPY Award. Here he is accepting it on ABC, remembering his life and encouraging fellow cancer patients.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SAGER: I've wrestled gators in Florida. I have sailed the ocean with Ted Turner. I have swam with the oceans in the Caribbean. And I have interviewed Gregg Popovich...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGER: ...Mid-game, Spurs down seven. If I've learned anything through all of this, it's that each and every day is a canvas waiting to be painted.

SIEGEL: In a statement, David Levy, the president of Turner, praised Sager's talent, work ethic and commitment. There will never be another Craig Sager, he said. Craig Sager died today. He was 65 years old. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.