Legendary reporter Craig Sager dead at 65

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Legendary reporter Craig Sager dead at 65

Reporter Craig Sager on the court before the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)

Reporter Craig Sager on the court before the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)

Reporter Craig Sager on the court before the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)

Reporter Craig Sager on the court before the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)

Brandon Sans, Staff Writer

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Tragedy shook the sports world on Thursday when Craig Sager, legendary sports reporter for Turner Sports, died after a lengthy battle with acute myeloid leukemia. He was 65.

“Craig Sager was a beloved member of the Turner family for more than three decades and he has been a true inspiration to all of us,” Turner president David Levy said in a statement. “There will never be another Craig Sager. His incredible talent, tireless work ethic and commitment to his craft took him all over the world covering sports.”

Born in Illinois, Sager graduated from Northeastern in 1973. He also served as the school’s Willie the Wildcat mascot. Even then, it was evident he had a gift for pleasing people.

In 1981, he joined the Cable News Network where he would spend the remainder of his career covering sports for the TBS and TNT sister channels. He is best known for his sideline reporting for the NBA on TNT in which he interviewed almost anyone who was relevant to the sport of basketball.

“Craig Sager thanks for saving my life when I was in dire need of help in Detroit back in 1993. Condolences to your family. RIP my friend,” said retired power forward Dennis Rodman via Twitter.

Every interview Sager did on television coincided with another elaborate, loud suit. Sager’s suits were made from any fabric or color one could imagine. While the suits may have been questionable to some, they displayed Sager preferred standing out to fitting in.

“That’s always been a badge of honor for Craig,” says his TNT colleague Ernie Johnson. “You say, ‘You can’t possibly wear that.’ It’s like, ‘Hey thanks, you couldn’t have said anything nicer to me.'”

For his part, Sager never worried what colleagues, athletes, or sports fans thought of his outlandishly amazing dress attire.

“I buy it all myself. I pick it all out myself. I once in a while get some help from my 7-year-old daughter. Some people might not like it; my 7-year-old, she likes it,” said Sager in a 2012 interview.

Perhaps most remarkable about this suit sage was his battle with cancer when diagnosed in 2014. His son Craig Jr. was a match for bone marrow transplant that pushed Sager Sr.’s cancer into remission until March 2016.

When his cancer returned, Sager announced doctors had given him a three to six month period to live. Nevertheless, Sager opted to continue doing the thing he loved: covering the NBA.

Late sportscaster Stuart Scott once said, “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

Sager had a remarkable ability to brighten anyone he came into contact with. The sports world lost one of its best ambassadors on Thursday.

As devastating as never hearing another Sager interview or seeing another Sager suit is, it is cause to celebrate and commemorate the human being he was as well.