The sports world lost on its most iconic figures on December 15. Sideline reporter, Craig Sager, passed away at the age of 65 after battling cancer. Sager spent over 40 years of his life as a sports reporter, most notably with the NBA. From his candid reporting tactics to his colorful and stylish suits, Sager was a game changer in the sports industry. Although most of his work came as a sideline reporter in the NBA, some of Sager’s most iconic moments came on the baseball field.
On the night of April 8, 1974 in Atlanta, Georgia, history was made. Hank Aaron slugged his then record-breaking 715th home run of his career and he was memorably bombarded by fans and reporters as he rounded the bases. Sager was one of the reporters in that crowd and he got to interview Aaron at home plate. Aaron recalled that moment on his Twitter account and stated that he and Sager have been friends ever since.
Sager was just a young reporter then, well before he became a renowned reporter. But that particular moment in 1974 exemplified the passion he had for sports and his uncanny ability to build everlasting relationships with people he came across.
Sager got to cover the MLB playoffs in 2007 and the baseball world got a chance to see his vibrant blazers and his joyful personality. He was also a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs. He was always confident that his Cubbies could win it all one day, so much to the point that he wagered $1,000 every year since 1981 that they would win the World Series.
It took 35 years for him to cash in on his favorite ball club, but as he stated in his book, Living Out Loud, “You gotta think positive.” In retrospect, Sager has lived his life by this quote and he kept a positive mindset to the very end.
Last summer, Sager got to be a part of the Cubs’ magical season as he threw out the first pitch on June 1 and sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame at Wrigley Field. Just a month later, he was awarded with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2016 ESPY Awards in recognition of his courageousness to fight cancer. Just a few days before his death, Sager was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
The legend that is Craig Sager has been recognized by countless sports fans and supporters across the country, making sure that his legacy will never die. Sager is survived by his wife and his four children.