Craig Sager, Longtime Turner NBA Reporter, Dies at 65

Craig Sager, prolific American sideline reporter for TNT and TBS, has died following a long battle with leukemia. He was 65.

Turner Sports announced the news on Thursday.

“Craig Sager was a beloved member of the Turner family for more than three decades and has been a true inspiration to all of us,” Turner president David Levy said in the statement.

“There will never be another Craig Sager,” he continued. “His incredible talent, tireless work ethic, and commitment to his craft took him all over the world covering sports. While he will be remembered fondly for his colorful attire and the TNT sideline interviews he conducted with NBA coaches and players, it’s the determination, grace and will to live he displayed during his battle with cancer that will be his lasting impact.”

Sager, who also became known for his colorful, coordinated attire, began his career in 1972 as a reporter for WXLT (now WWSB-Channel 40) in Sarasota, Fla., where he is remembered for waiting for Hank Aaron at third base and interviewing him on the way to home plate after Aaron hit his 715th home run, breaking the record held by Babe Ruth.

He joined CNN in 1981 after conducting the network’s first live, remote report from the 1980 MLB post-season. At CNN, Sager served as co-anchor for the network’s “Sports Tonight” show.

In 2001, he reported for TNT’s Goodwill Games from Brisbane, Australia; 2000 Winter Goodwill Games coverage from Lake Placid, N.Y.; TBS’ 1998 Goodwill Games coverage from New York; 1994 Goodwill Games in Russia; 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, and 1986 Goodwill Games in Moscow.

From 2007 -2013, Sager served as a reporter for TBS’ coverage of the MLB post-season and during that time he also served as a course reporter for the PGA Championship on TNT and a sideline reporter for Turner and CBS’ joint coverage of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.

Over half of his four-decade-long sports broadcasting career has been with Turner Sports. In 2016, he completed his 26th season as sideline reporter for the company’s exclusive Thursday night NBA on TNT doubleheader coverage.

The NBA on TNT tweeted their condolences, writing, “We are forever #SagerStrong.”

Sager was a first-time nominee for a Sports Emmy Award for outstanding sports personality in 2012, the same year he covered the XXX Olympiad in London during the Olympic basketball tournament.

He was presented with the 2016 Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPY Awards. His battle with acute myeloid leukemia began in 2014.

He is survived by his wife, Stacy, and their two children, Riley and Ryan.

Hollywood Stars and Icons Lost in 2016

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Stephen Amell Arrow Season 5

    'Arrow' Star Stephen Amell to Lead Starz Wrestling Drama 'Heels'

    Stephen Amell has set his first major post-“Arrow” role. The actor, who will make his final outing as the bow wielding super hero this season, has been cast as the lead in a wrestling drama series entitled “Heels” which has been given the greenlight at Starz. The hour-long drama is set in a close-knit Georgia [...]

  • Curiosity Stream Altice

    Altice USA Pacts With John Hendricks' CuriosityStream Service

    Altice USA has set a deal with John Hendricks’ CuriosityStream to expand distribution of the science- and history-focused subscription streaming service. The deal will make CuriosityStream available to all Altice USA’s 4.9 million customers across 21 states, including a big cluster serving New York and Connecticut. Altice also plans to add the CuriosityStream app to [...]

  • Discovery Plans Multi-Network Boost for 'Brady

    Here's The Story: Discovery Plans Multi-Network Boost for 'Brady' Series

    Starting Monday, viewers of cable outlets like TLC, the Food Network and Discovery Channel may experience the strange sensation of hearing snippets of the theme song from the 1970s sitcom, “The Brady Bunch.” On TLC, “Long Island Medium” star Theresa Caputo will appear sporting a ‘do that looks much like the one Florence Henderson’s Carol [...]

  • Steven Knight

    BBC Orders Steven Knight Drama Series ‘SAS: Rogue Heroes’

    The BBC has ordered “SAS: Rogue Heroes,” which is being adapted by “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight, Oscar nominated for “Dirty Pretty Things,” from Ben Macintyre’s book. The drama series will tell the story of how the British special forces unit, the SAS, came to be formed. The series is being produced by Kudos, whose [...]

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content