One year ago on December 15, 2016, the basketball world lost Craig Sager after a long battle with cancer. The beloved sideline reporter was mourned by many in the basketball world, from players to fans and an endless list of people he touched in the media and beyond.
The anniversary of Sager’s death this week is another opportunity to remember who he was and the impact he had on the sports world, both during his life and in death.
Perhaps the most touching tribute came from his own family. Craig’s wife, Stacey, wrote about her husband for The Player’s Tribune earlier this week and shared many stories, including how they met and the vibrant way he looked at life. It’s hard to look at Sager as anything but charming and full of life, and Stacey’s stories certainly reinforced that narrative.
The first time she met Craig, for example, he suggested their first date be a trip to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl.
Because, to Craig, the idea of a first date was to invite me, right there in the bar, to fly to San Antonio with him the next day — because Northwestern was playing Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl.
“Wait, fly to San Antonio … as in, tomorrow morning?” I said.
To him, it made complete sense. I can still remember the look on his face. Totally unfazed. It was like he’d just asked me if I wanted to share a plate of fries.
He was like, “Of course, why not? Let’s just go. We’ll live it up, we’ll just go to the game, to a restaurant I like … anything we want to do!”
Everyone in the basketball world had kind words to say about Sager, including the Inside the NBA crew.
The studio show shared memories of Sager on Thursday and also discussed the dedication of a basketball court in Sager’s honor to be used by kids fighting cancer at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“Kids, for years and years, will be playing on Craig’s Court,” Ernie Johnson said during the segment, which covered the unveiling of a basketball court dedicated to Sager.
The Golden State Warriors also posted their own tribute to Sager on Friday.
Many tweeted out a collage of his many outfits, which was a nice touch on a day of remembrance for one of the brightest and most distinct figures in the NBA world.
It’s clear that even though Sager is gone, his impact, and the image of him smiling on the sideline in a bright outfit, will remain in the memory of basketball fans for long into the future.