The NBA Finals Game 6 broadcast on ABC on Thursday, June 16 will feature a new but familiar face to basketball fans: TNT NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager.
Sager, known for his wildly colorful suits, has never worked the sidelines for an NBA finals because TNT was never the series’ outlet.
Rich Sandomir of The New York Times reported that ESPN began its internal discussions about inviting Sager to work on the finals about six weeks ago.
“My first conversation was with Jeff Van Gundy, and then with Mike Breen, Doris Burke and Mark Jackson,” said Tim Corrigan, ESPN’s senior coordinating producer for the NBA, referring to ESPN/ABC’s lead announcing team. “Everybody said, ‘We’ve got to do that.’”
Sager is currently being treated for acute myeloid leukemia, a disease which had recently returned after being in remission. He will receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award in July on the annual ESPYs awards show, which will air on ABC.
“As the NBA Finals got to [3 games to 1, in favor of Golden State]” Sager said to Sandomir, “I thought, my God, this might not get to Game 6. So maybe it won’t happen. Then I watched Game 5 intensely and found out there would be a Game 6.”
Sager is also slated to report on the sidelines for United States men’s basketball games at the Summer Olympics from Rio de Janeiro for NBC.