As Cam Newton proved on Monday night, with his exceptionally bright and off-the-wall pre-game attire, the sports world is still mourning the passing of beloved NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager. The emotional impact of his death has been felt well beyond professional basketball, as he was simply a one-of-a-kind personality who leaves an unfillable void and a legacy unlike any other. That’s because in addition to being the guy with the funny suits, Sager was also an incredible inspiration, to both his peers and fans, as the 65-year-old never let his battle with leukemia hold him back. Instead, as Max Kellerman put it in his tribute, he kept punching the clock.
Shortly before his passing, Sager spoke with CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod, and their exchange is, sadly, his final interview. It shouldn’t surprise anyone, though, that Sager’s final interview is inspirational, heartbreaking, and even charming. Obviously, he had to wear a fantastic jacket, too.
“I feel like I’m fighting not only for myself and my family,” he told Axelrod, “but I feel I am fighting for everybody who has cancer.” Ever the optimist, Sager admitted that he saw the blessings in his battle, as he sorted through and replied to a mountain of fan mail in his hospital room. “People say, ‘I’ve been a negative person all my life, and you changed my life. Now I’m more positive and happier.’”
Sager’s daughter recently shared a video of her dad doing what he did best, living life to the fullest and being all smiles during an old dunk contest video that Inside The NBA joked about a few years back:
Every story, every quote, and every clip seems to highlight the positivity that Sager brought to life.
“Nobody knows how long they have left,” Sager said in the interview. “There’s no guarantees.” There is one guarantee, though: Sager’s legacy will continue to inspire and provide hope for many more years to come.