Chris Pizzello/Associated Press
Almost one year to the day of Craig Sager’s death, his wife Stacy Sager has offered some insight into what made the longtime NBA sideline reporter such a unique and beloved figure during his 65 years of life.
In an article on The Players’ Tribune, Sager began with a story of how she and her husband met at an airport before offering some of the wisdom he had that made him such a revered reporter.
Among the four pieces of wisdom Sager shared, Craig’s ability to listen was No. 1 on the list:
“If, for example, he knew he’d only have time for a three-question interview after a game, Craig would have 20 questions prepared in his head so that he could go one way or another depending on the player’s responses. He was always trying to be in the moment. He was so good on his feet and quick witted. However, the listening and preparation were far more important reasons for his success.”
Stacy also highlighted the relationships Craig had with his cohorts at TNT and the players he covered in sports ranging from the NBA to the NFL, MLB and soccer over the course of a 44-year career.
“Craig was like a big kid,” Stacy wrote. “He just had fun every day. And he treated every player as though they were an All-Star. I think that came across to people. He never worked a day in his life, he’d always say, and I think he’s one of a kind in that way.”
Craig was initially diagnosed with leukemia in April 2014 which caused him to miss the NBA playoffs that season. Following a bone marrow transplant in July 2016, Sager was on the court for the 2015-16 season opener. He announced his cancer was no longer in remission in March 2016 and died Dec. 15, 2016.
Prior to his death, Sager covered the 2016 NBA Finals as a sideline reporter during Game 6 of the series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. He was a two-time winner of the Outstanding Sports Reporter award at the Sports Emmy Awards and was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame two days before his death.