Craig Sager spent more than three decades with Turner, most recognizably as sideline reporter for the company’s coverage of the NBA. Known for his colorful wardrobe and even brighter personality, Sager’s enthusiasm, talent and friendly interview style was embraced by sports fans.
Sager spent 26 seasons covering the NBA on TNT including all of the league’s signature events – NBA Opening Night, NBA All-Star, the NBA Playoffs and NBA Draft. He also appeared regularly on NBA TV and, in June 2016, he covered his first NBA Finals through a special arrangement between Turner and ESPN.
In July 2016, Sager delivered an emotional acceptance speech as the recipient of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, which was presented by Vice President Joe Biden at the ESPY Awards. Sager had courageously fought acute myeloid leukemia since 2014, inspiring so many through his positive outlook and ability to embrace life in the most trying of times. As he put it, “Time is simply how you live your life.” Along with his wife, Stacy, he started the SagerStrong Foundation to raise awareness and funding for cancer research and education.
In December 2016, Sager was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame and in September 2017 was posthumously awarded the Curt Gowdy Media Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In addition to his NBA responsibilities, Sager most recently contributed as a sideline reporter for Turner and CBS’ joint coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (2011-14), TBS’ coverage of the MLB Postseason (2007-2013), and TNT’s coverage of the PGA Championship in 2009 and 2013.
Sager's reporting took him around the world to cover many of basketball's biggest events. He served as a sideline reporter for NBC Sports’ coverage of the XXX Olympiad in London in 2012, along with TNT's coverage of the 2002 World Championships of Basketball from Indianapolis, the 2000 USA Basketball exhibition tour from Hawaii and Japan, as well as the 1999 Tournament of the Americas from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
A veteran of multiple international sporting events, Sager worked four consecutive Olympics for NBC, and served as a play-by-play voice for TNT’s coverage of the 1992 Winter Olympics from Albertville, France. He also covered the 2001 Goodwill Games from Brisbane, Australia, the 2000 Winter Goodwill Games from Lake Placid, N.Y., and TBS’ 1998 Goodwill Games from New York, 1994 Goodwill Games in Russia, 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle and 1986 Goodwill Games in Moscow. Further marquee events included the Wimbledon Championships in England, and soccer’s World Cup from Italy in 1990.
Sager also contributed as a sideline reporter for TNT's NFL pre-game, halftime and post-game shows from 1990-97, as well as TBS' Pac-10/Big 12 college football coverage from 2002-06, the Senior Bowl from Mobile, Ala., and the 1998 and 2000 Micron PC Bowls. He also served as the anchor of TBS’ College Football Scoreboard from 1982-85.
Sager joined Turner’s CNN in 1981 after handling the network's first live remote report from the 1980 MLB Postseason. While at CNN, Sager was co-anchor of the network's Sports Tonight shows and was honored with a CableAce award in 1985.
Prior to joining CNN, Sager spent two years at KMBC-TV in Kansas City, where he served as sports director and reporter and handled play-by-play duties for the Kansas City Kings, Royals spring training and Chiefs pre-season games.
Previously, Sager was sports director for WINK-TV in Fort Myers, Fla., where he was honored with the Sportscaster of the Year Award from the Florida High School Coaches Association. He also had stints at WTSP-TV in Saint Petersburg, Fla., along with WSPB-Radio and WXLT-TV in Sarasota, Fla., where he began his broadcast career in 1972. That same year, as a reporter for XLTV-TV, Sager famously interviewed Hank Aaron as he rounded third based and headed for home plate after Aaron hit his historic 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s all-time record.
A proud native of Batavia, Ill., Sager holds a bachelor's degree in speech from Northwestern University. He walked on to the football and basketball teams and served as the University’s “Willie the Wildcat” mascot for three years.
Sager is survived by his wife, Stacy, and two children, Riley and Ryan. Sager also has three children from a previous marriage, Kacy, Krista, and Craig, Jr.