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Losing Craig Sager

The much-loved broadcaster died Thursday. He’ll be greatly missed.

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San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Like any sport, the basketball world is divided by tribal loyalties. It’s really hard to get around that.

Duke and UNC fans, for instance, will occasionally allow for a begrudging respect (less so post-scandal however).

It takes a lot to get past that, and often it takes a real loss. Think of the ACC reactions when Jim Valvano, Len Bias and Dean Smith died.

Everyone came together, at least for a bit.

It’s a rare person who can consistently rise above that. Think Dick Vitale, Al McGuire and Craig Sager.

Sager drew attention, laughs and admiration for his amazing collection of suits and his willingness to be a bold clotheshorse, but he also won immense praise and affection.

He was just obviously a good guy. Who ever disliked the guy? He was just sweet.

So while his battle with leukemia was well known, his death Thursday still comes as a kick to the gut. We lost a good man who was liked by virtually every one who loves basketball.

It’s yet another loss to cancer of course. Cancer took Valvano, it took Sager, it took our late friend Gloria Borges, who fought her cancer like a champ. Her fight would have made Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali proud. She never stopped fighting for a minute.

Yet it took her as it took Valvano and Sager.

Amazing progress has been made but it’s not over yet. We all need to keep fighting. You might not think that it will affect you, but if it hasn’t, sooner or later it will.

Godspeed to Sager. He was one of the greats. We hope to see him in the Basketball Hall of Fame before too long.

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