The Cold Hard Truth: On Sports

A Tribute to Craig Sager

Craig Sager accepts Jimmy V award for perseverance at ESPY

A Tribute to Craig Sager

BY Kevin Krest


The NBA reported earlier today that Craig Sager, longtime sports analyst, most notably for Turner Sports’  NBA coverage, has died of leukemia. Sager had been valiantly battling the disease over the past couple of years. His death is of particular interest to me, as my father died of the same disease a little over twenty-two years ago. I was very moved by the news and wish the Sager family my condolences and peace in dealing with their loss.

What was inspirational about Craig Sager during this time was how publicly hopeful and upbeat he was. Despite the grim prognoses and multiple setbacks, he continued to return to the air in his signature colorful sports coats, his preparation and professionalism never wavering. In a Yahoo! article, he demonstrated an immense faith and thankfulness by his words and actions. As a Christian myself, it is truly inspirational to hear someone going through the battle of a terminal disease talk about how they are uplifted by the experience and made more aware of the value of living every day to the fullest.

Just like Jim Valvano twenty-three years ago, Craig Sager’s was a message of perseverance, grit, and inspiration in the face of adversity. As a sports fan, commentator and analyst, my wish is that those involved in athletics, whether it be high school, college or the professional ranks, look at someone like Craig Sager and gain perspective about their place in the entire scheme of human endeavor. While Sager wasn’t playing between the lines, he certainly was part of the industry that brings the games to life during broadcasts. What’s really important, lasting and eternal? Is it that tantrum that’s thrown over a questionable call at a crucial time? How about accepting a playbook from an opposing team’s radio analyst? Or maybe it’s resting players when kids in an opposing city waited months to see the best in the game compete against your team?

No, I can truly say none of those things is eternal. They last about as long as it takes for the next petty and childish act to get blown out of proportion by a media that’s all too willing to dramatize the insignificant instead of praising the multitude of gracious and unselfish acts taking place right in front of them. Craig Sager represented a lot of what was and is good in sports specifically, and in people in general. His presence will surely be missed, but the courage he demonstrated and feelings he inspired will persist forever.


[Photo: Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP]



For more follow Kevin Krest on Twitter @KevinKrest and don’t forget to check out my new book, “Offsetting Penalties – A PK Frazier Novel” and my first two, “Illegal Procedure – A PK Frazier Novel” and “Roughing the Passer – A PK Frazier Novel”, available in print and e-formats at, iBooks and Smashwords.  Tune into at 8:40 am EST every Friday for my Beyond the Commentary segment on “Lou in the Morning” with Lou Vickery and Jonathan McMath.

A Tribute to Craig Sager

A Tribute to Craig Sager

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