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Craig Sager, Sports Reporting Legend, Passes Away at 65

Legendary TV sports reporter Craig Sager, most known for his sideline reporting for the NBA on TNT and his colorful outfits, passed away in Atlanta on Thursday, Dec. 15 at the age of 65 due to complications from leukemia.

Sager was born on June 29, 1951, in Batavia, Ill. His father, Al, was an advertising executive; his mother, Coral, was a golfer who held a pilot’s license. As a Northwestern University graduate, he became a reporter for a Sarasota, Fla. radio station. On April 8, 1974, Sager famously went onto the field at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium after Hank Aaron hit the then-all-time record-setting 715th home run and briefly interviewed Aaron.

Sager also worked at television stations in Florida and Kansas City, Mo., before he joined CNN in 1981. In 1990 he moved to Turner Sports where he became most notable for his work on the NBA on TNT. His most famous interactions on the basketball court in recent years were his interviews with the normally-grumpy San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

Throughout his career, Sager has also covered the Belmont Stakes, golf, the NFL, college football and basketball, and Major League Baseball.

ABC invited Sager to work his first-ever NBA Finals game back on June 16, 2016 for Game 6 in Cleveland — what would be the final game telecast of his career. A month later, at the annual ESPY awards, he received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, named in honor of Jim Valvano, the former North Carolina State coach who died of cancer in 1993.

Sager is survived by his children Craig, Ryan, Kacy, Krista and Riley; his second wife, Stacy; and a sister, Candy Menzemer.