Craig Sager is among 10 people set to be inducted Tuesday into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The popular NBA sideline reporter for TNT has won admiration for his rapport with players and coaches and for his battles with cancer, not to mention for his eye-catching outfits.
“Sager’s presence has become synonymous with big-time NBA basketball (not to mention with unique style),” the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame said in a news release. “As a sideline reporter for the NBA on TNT for nearly two decades, he has earned the respect of players, coaches, and viewers. He previously hosted Atlanta Hawks telecasts for TBS Superstation and was a reporter on TNT’s NFL pregame, halftime, and postgame from 1990 to ’97.”
“I think he was probably ahead of his time in many ways,” announcer Ian Eagle said of Sager recently (via nba.com). “When the sideline reporter role started it was a lot of very superficial questions and Craig always cut through that and got to the heart of matters in a very direct way, but not in a confrontational way. So he asked tough questions, but because of the dynamic that he formed with players and coaches you never sensed any real drama.”
Other media figures tabbed for induction this year include Verne Lundquist, who recently announced his final SEC game for CBS, and ABC’s Robin Roberts, who has had her own battles with cancer. Veteran baseball analyst Tim McCarver, Steelers owner Dan Rooney and “Monday Night Football” announcer Sean McManus are also among the group.
Thus far in this NBA season, Sager has been absent from the sidelines as he continues his fight against acute myeloid leukemia, first diagnosed in 2014. In August, Sager underwent a rare third bone-marrow transplant, this one from an anonymous donor after his son had provided bone marrow the first two times.
Sager was forced to miss an opportunity to help NBC broadcast basketball games at the Rio Olympics in July, because he needed to receive treatments for his leukemia. Earlier in the month, he made a memorable appearance at July’s ESPY awards, where he received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
“Sports is who I am in my soul. … I have had the good fortune to witness all of your amazing feats. And I am confident that I will continue to watch those amazing feats,” Sager said at the ESPYs.
Previous Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductees have included Howard Cosell, Roone Arledge, Jim McKay, Vin Scully, Curt Gowdy, Dick Enberg, Keith Jackson, John Madden, Pat Summerall, Jack Buck, Dick Ebersol, Frank Gifford, Al Michaels, Marv Albert, Dick Button and Ted Turner.