The first annual NBA Awards will be held on Monday, June 26, airing on TNT at 9 p.m. ET, when we will learn who won the hotly contested MVP race, as well as the rest of the major league awards like Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. There will also be a new award introduced, the Sager Strong Award, given “to an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace,” and named after legendary NBA reporter Craig Sager who passed away after his long battle with cancer in December 2016.
The first recipient of the award will be Monty Williams, currently the vice president of basketball operations for the Spurs and a former assistant and head coach in the NBA. Williams lost his wife Ingrid in a tragic car accident in 2016 and his powerful message at her memorial service was unforgettable. Williams is a fitting recipient of the award and he expressed his gratitude for the honor.
“Craig Sager’s amazing attitude was truly inspirational. He was a champion during his battle, fighting every day with grace and humor. I have great respect for Craig, Stacy and the Sager family so it’s humbling to be the first recipient of the Sager Strong Award,” said Williams. “In our case, my children and I couldn’t have made it through the tough times without the grace of God and the wonderful support we received from family and friends. For all of those who prayed for us, everyone who provided us with hope, love and support, it’s impossible to thank each of you enough. We are forever grateful.”
Williams will be presented with the award at the NBA Awards show for his courage and strength he showed for his family of five children and in offering forgiveness for the driver of the car that killed is wife.