Yesterday afternoon, TNT released a statement announcing the passing of beloved NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager who was known for his flamboyant style and his affability.
Sager would find humor in the most tense of situations, the perfect foil for ultra-competitive figures like Gregg Popovich and Kevin Garnett. He perfected the mid-game interview.
These interviews were mostly short on actual information and full of jokes and humor. Craig Sager did as much to humanize the coaches and players that we think of as so inaccessible.
Whether it was his stone-faced reaction to KG’s multiple shots at his outfits or Gregg Popovich refusing to tell him anything about his team’s strategy, Sager brought out the best of these famous sports personalities.
It is so telling when Sager was told he had 3 to 6 months to live back in March, tributes to the man poured in from all corners of the sports and pop culture world.
Sager was there with us in our living rooms and the bars. He brought humanity, comedy, and the best fuckin’ suits around to the sometimes monotonous broadcasts he was on.
Many NBA fans in their 20s simply don’t know basketball games without Craig Sager’s presence on the sideline.
He was taken far too soon, at the age of 65; there will be a big whole on the sideline of those TNT NBA broadcasts and in our hearts.
Rest In Power Craig Sager. We know you’ll be holding it down in those fire suits of yours.
The loss of Craig Sager means a lot to many Americans who were inspired by his fight until the very end.
Craig Sager died as he lived—with courage, passion, perseverance. Fearless and hopeful, a real hero. pic.twitter.com/lPzJUPevTE
— VP Biden (Archived) (@VP44) December 15, 2016
As well as every NBA great who got to know him over the years.
“Time is simply how you live your life.” – Craig Sager. So grateful for the time you shared with all of us. RIP my friend #sagerstrong
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) December 15, 2016
Players like Damian Lillard are keeping his spirit alive this week.
— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) December 15, 2016
NBA legends like Magic Johnson also sent out their condolences to Sager’s family.
The NBA family lost a legend, who changed the way sideline reporters did their job. RIP Craig Sager.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) December 15, 2016
Even baseball legends like Han Aaron paid their respects.
Craig Sagar 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
— Hank Aaron (@HenryLouisAaron) December 15, 2016
Current NBA stars like Vince Carter chose to share personal moments they had with Craig on social media.
— Vince Carter (@mrvincecarter15) December 15, 2016
All across the league, the outpouring of love has been sent.
Long Live Craig. We love you! Rest in Paradise
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) December 15, 2016
These players got to see Craig Sager’s true passion for the game every night.
— Chris Paul (@CP3) December 15, 2016
From the stars of yesterday…
Craig Sager brought so much enthusiasm to the NBA game. But his fight to the end is what really impressed me. RIP to an inspiring man.
— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) December 15, 2016
To the stars of tomorrow…
Rest in peace Craig Sager! 🙏🏼:(
— Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) December 15, 2016
Craig Sager’s impact on the game of basketball had to do more with the actual game itself.
Even stars from the NFL sent out their prayers for Craig’s family.
Extending my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Craig Sager. May he rest in peace #SagerStrong
— Matt Ryan (@M_Ryan02) December 15, 2016
And the WWE…
— John Cena (@JohnCena) December 15, 2016
His affect on the world clearly went beyond basketball.
RIP Mr Craig Sager. Gone but never forgotten
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) December 15, 2016
His inspiring speech at the 2016 ESPYs proved that he is truly one of a kind.
Craig Sager was a man who lived life just the way he wanted to; with style and kindness.
The suits said it all – colorful, fun, a little outlandish. That’s what sports should be. Thanks, Craig Sager. We'll all miss you.
— President Obama (@POTUS44) December 16, 2016
Which is why a tribute like a “moment of joy” instead of silence makes much more sense.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 16, 2016
His son, Craig Sager Jr, had the best tribute to his late father.
— Craig Sager II (@CraigSagerJr) December 15, 2016