Everyone knows Craig Sager as the horrifically-dressed sideline reporter for TNT’s NBA coverage. But covering the Redeem Team in Beijing, Sager’s been forced to wear a tame green reporter’s bib, probably the best restriction of freedom the Chinese government has ever imposed.
D.C. Sports Bog caught up with Sager behind the scenes, and the result is an epic interview in which Sager talks about his fetish for blonds, his 21-years-younger former NBA dancer wife, his past as Northwestern’s mascot, the thong underwear he’s wearing, and his love of Hooters restaurants and Bud Light. Behold:
[D]id you get a chance to look at the dance teams? […] What’d you think? I mean, is it like NBA quality?
Well, have you seen the Red Foxes? Wait to see them. It’s the Lithuanian dance team. The blonds? […] I don’t think you’ve seen them. You’ll notice them. They’re hot. No, they’re really, REALLY hot. They were very popular in Athens. You know, we’re here long days. We got here today at 2, and we’ll do a game about a 10:15 start. It’s real long day. So our camera guys will focus on the Red Foxes. They even came out and watched them practice before the competition.
Especially, you know me, I have a blond fetish, and you don’t find many blonds out here. And so when I found out that the Red Foxes were here, I was very, very pleased. Their dance team, the Chinese dance team, doesn’t look to me like they’ve been together long or they’ve been trained by a U.S. NBA dance team. And I would know, too, because I married one. I married a Luvabull from the Chicago Bulls.
Read more highlights after the jump. I swear to God he sounds like a coked-up Brett Michaels.
I don’t know if I knew that. Wow.
Yeah. I’m the one you should talk to when it comes to evaluating dance teams. I’m the guy….We have long days, long hours here, and there are men’s games and women’s games. [Pause] I’m glad the Red Foxes are here.
What about the dunking mascots, did you see that?
I see them but I didn’t pay much attention, because usually during the timeouts I’m facing away from the court doing my stuff.
The dunking mascots missed all of their dunks off the trampoline.
You’re not supposed to miss your dunks off the trampoline.
Well, see, I can give you perspective on that too, because I was [Willie] the Wildcat at Northwestern.
Of course you were.
And back when I did it, the mini tramp was allowed in college, so I would dress up as [Willie] and I used to do all that stuff. I used to carry the mini tramp in the trunk of my car and I’d go to bars and get hammered and take it out and show off, do these flips. And then a Kentucky cheerleader got paralyzed on it, and so it’s outlawed in the NCAA, so the only time you see them now is in the NBA.
Could you still do it?
Well, the guy in Utah’s always wanted me to do it. And it’s something I’d have to practice a little bit before I did it. I do it off the diving board all the time, stuff like that….I haven’t been off the mini-tramp. But the guy in Utah wants me to do it, so if I ever get a chance to do a Utah game where I’m out there a couple days ahead of time, so I can get back into form….
But [Asian basketball fans] must ask to take pictures [of you]. I mean, they ask to take pictures of any tall white guy.
Wait till my bride comes over tomorrow, the former Luvabull.
Why? She’s gonna get mobbed you think?
Ohhhhh! Well, she’s 21 years younger than me and she’s still hot, so….
And what about wearing the outfit? Does it, like, offend your sensibilities?
Oh my God! It’s terrible! I’ve got to wear this little vest bib! I’m getting a lot of grief from the NBA players. You know, ‘Where’s your sport coat, where’s your tie?’
Yeah, do you feel naked or something?
I mean, it’s comfortable, but I wish I could liven it up a little bit.
There’s no way to accent it at all?
The only thing I can do is have this [belt] and have a matching thong. That’s about the only thing I can do.
Do you have a matching thong? [laughing]
Yeah! I’m not going to show it to you though.
You really do? [staring]
Yeah, but I’m not going to show it to you.
Why would you have a matching thong? [horrified]
Because you’ve gotta be excited!
Does it have to be blue, though?
Yeah. I brought all sorts of different underwear that match my shirt. That’s the only thing I can do.
This is the greatest interview, by a longshot, that I’ve done since I’ve been in Beijing. Is it hard for you to get as pumped as you would at an NBA game? Because you know, for a lot of [the preceding game] it was pretty quiet out there.
I’m just so used to NBA games where I go anywhere I want. You know, I go in the huddles, I interview the coaches. Here, I’m stuck in that pigpen, so I can’t get out, and then I’ve got to wear this [expletive].
Awesome. So you don’t care if I say that you have a blond fetish?
Oh no. Everybody knows that. EVERYBODY knows that. Bud Light and blonds. So there’s a Hooters here, I went to Hooters the other day in Beijing. I’ve been to probably 250 Hooters across the country and world. It’s the only Hooters I’ve ever been to that didn’t have any Bud Light or blonds. I was very disappointed.
On a scale of one to awesome, Craig Sager is somewhere between Hugh Hefner and the clown from It. I’m both impressed and terrified.