The NBA lost one of its beloved figures on Thursday when TNT reporter Craig Sager lost his fight with cancer. He was 65. Sager was known as much for his colorful wardrobe as his big heart. Reaction from around the world of basketball poured in.
Here are just a few examples:
▪ “My life is better. Sports is better for knowing Craig Sager,” – TNT analyst and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley
▪ “A day like this, basketball has to take a back seat, as we all think about somebody who was very unique, very special.” – San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
▪ Former Detroit Pistons “Bad Boy” Dennis Rodman once told Sports Illustrated that Sager tracked him down when Rodman went AWOL in 1993 and talked him out of committing suicide.
“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.” – Rodman, on Twitter
▪ “He’s on the Mount Rushmore of sideline reporters, and Mount Rushmore has a lot more color to it as a result. But you can’t get lost in the wardrobe, because he (was) very good at what he did and cultivated a lot of great relationships with so many players. The reason you get this outpouring about Craig is they knew who he is, his work ethic and the way he doggedly went about the job.” – TNT’s Ernie Johnson
▪ “He was a part of the fabric of the game. He helped the coaches and he helped the players. He brought the players and coaches closer to the people watching the game.” – Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd
▪ “Today we lost a brother and a friend.” – TNT analyst and Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal
▪ “I – along with the entire NBA family – am deeply saddened by the passing of Craig Sager. Craig was as vital to the NBA as the players and coaches. A true original and an essential voice on Turner Sports’ NBA coverage for 26 seasons, Craig chronicled some of the most memorable moments in league history and was a ubiquitous presence with his splashy suits and equally colorful personality. Craig earned widespread respect for his insightful reporting and inspired so many most recently with his courage.” – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
▪ “He’s such a part of our game, and even though he wasn’t out there playing, you turn on the TV on a Tuesday night and part of the fun … was seeing Craig in his crazy suits. He was phenomenal at his job and he brought something every night he was on TV.” – Lakers coach Luke Walton
▪ “Long live Craig. We love you! Rest in Paradise” – Warriors star Kevin Durant on Twitter
▪ “He was as identifiable with the NBA as any player or coach. The league will not be the same without him.”' – Hall of Famer Larry Bird
Compiled by Chris La Marr from TNT, NBA.com, ESPN.com, The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, Twitter and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel