To most, Sager is the guy who wears silly suits and acts as a punching bag for Gregg Popovich during mid-game interviews, but he’s also a legitimately fascinating person whose career in sports media spans some 44 years. In addition to covering basketball, Sager has covered everything from baseball to golf to the Winter Olympics.
Sager has also, uh, seen some stuff during his broadcasting career. This excerpt from SI‘s story proves that Sager’s lived one hell of a life during his tenure as a sideline reporter.
Sager is not the guy who provides dissertations on pick-and-roll defense. He is the guy who once slept next to the stall of Seattle Slew the night before the horse won the Triple Crown, who bailed Morganna the Kissing Bandit out of jail, who surprised Shaquille O’Neal by boat at his Isleworth home. An interview with Sager should really be conducted at the dog track, where he used to own greyhounds, or a Hooters, where servers clad in Sager Orange bring him Bud Light and buffalo shrimp. He should be perched on a barstool next to his wife, Stacy—a former Bulls dancer 21 years his junior—regaling strangers with a story about Dennis Rodman, who went AWOL from the Pistons in 1993 and planned to commit suicide, until Sager tracked down the Worm on the second floor of a Detroit strip club. “The Landing Strip,” Sager recalls. “He had the gun. He was going to do it. I told him how stupid that would be.”
Wow. While the tidbit about a suicidal Dennis Rodman is especially amazing, anecdotes like each of those chronicled above makes it clear just how special the TNT legend is to the sporting world.
Still, the biggest thing with Sager now is his ongoing fight to live. The story also touched on his battle with leukemia, and included Sager’s doctor discussing how incredible it is that he’s still alive.
Sager still lives outside Atlanta, but he spends most of his time at the Marriott Medical Center in Houston, where he is in the midst of a clinical trial. Friends freaked in March when Sager told HBO’s Real Sports he had been given three-to-six months to live, but that was the prognosis for a patient without treatment, and he is receiving the best care available. “A patient who battles this past a year is amazing,” says his doctor, Naveen Pemmaraju. “What he’s done is almost miraculous.”
We can sit here and read stuff about Sager all day because by all accounts he’s an awesome person with stories for days. But for now, all we can do is recommend that you go read the SI piece on the most interesting man in the world.