Turner’s Sager Makes Sports Illustrated Cover

Turner Broadcasting sportscaster Craig Sager, who is battling cancer, is on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.

In the story, Sager’s positive outlook is described, along with facts about his long career as a sideline reporter covering NBA games.

The story features NBA stars LeBron James and Chris Paul, along with TNT teammate Ernie Johnson talking about how Sager is regarded.

Here are some highlights from the story:

Sager about staying strong in the tragic situation: “I don’t like to complain. I don’t want people to go, ‘Look what happened to Sager, that’s so sad, that’s not the guy I knew.’ Then they won’t come see me.”

On seeing Sager on the sidelines of his games, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James tells SI: “Whenever Craig Sager is covering your game, you know it’s a big one. But when I look over and see him covering our game right now… Talking about it makes me sentimental.”

Naveen Pemmaraju, Craig Sager’s doctor, describes Sager’s intense situation: “A patient who battles this past a year is amazing. What he’s done is almost miraculous.”

On Sager continuing on with the job he loves, Pemmaraju says: “But it is the essential question. What he’s doing has danger. It has risk. Then again, we talk a lot about the mental aspect. Where do you go for your inspiration, for your drive? For him, it’s this job. If he can’t do it, then that could be harmful too.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said to Craig Sager: “You’re as important to the NBA as players or coaches or owners.”

Kenny Smith, analyst for TNT’s Inside the NBA and former NBA player, describes Sager’s presence: “As a player, you knew when he was in the building. And you knew, if Craig Sager was talking about you, that you were official. Your family taped it. You watched it over and over again. It was a validation.”

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers talks about watching rookies summoned for their first interview with Sager: “I know what they’re thinking, ‘I just made the NBA.’”

TNT sportscaster Ernie Johnson describes what it’s like to visit Sager: “You go in there trying to give him a lift, and you leave all fired up.”

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul says, of Sager: “He gives everything realness."

On his outlook and positive attitude, Sager says: “Am I naive? Maybe. Am I in denial? No. I know the severity. But I have faith, I have support. I have hope. Hope is as important as breath.”

On his life: “I’m 64. I’m lucky I’ve had such a full life, such a charmed life."

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.