RIP Craig Sager: Sports, Entertainment Stars Remember Colorful Turner NBA Reporter

“Craig Sager died as he lived — with courage, passion, perseverance. Fearless and hopeful, a real hero,” Vice President Joe Biden says

Last Updated: December 16, 2016 @ 8:38 AM

As news spread that Craig Sager had lost his battle with leukemia at age 65, the sports world united to pay tribute to Turner’s beloved NBA reporter.

A colorful presence courtside in his rainbow bright suits and clashing ties for many years, Sager shared his infectious spirit and lust for life with everyone he encountered  — whether in person or through their TV screens.

Even the grumpiest man in sports — San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich — couldn’t help but crack a smile when Sager bugged him with “inane questions” during halftime breaks.

“I gotta honestly tell you that this is the first time I’ve enjoyed doing this ridiculous interview we’re required to do, and it’s because you’re here and you’re back with us. Welcome back, baby,” Popovich told Sager when he returned to the sidelines following cancer treatments last December, Sports Illustrated recalled.

From the biggest names in sports to on-air talent at competing networks ESPN and Fox Sports, an outpouring of heartfelt tributes flooded social media on Thursday.

“The NBA family lost a legend, who changed the way sideline reporters did their job. RIP Craig Sager,” Magic Johnson tweeted.

“Craig Sager died as he lived–with courage, passion, perseverance. Fearless and hopeful, a real hero,” said vice president Joe Biden, who presented Sager with the Jimmy V Perseverance award at the 2016 ESPYs in July.

“RIP Mr Craig Sager. Gone but never forgotten,” rapper Lil Wayne wrote.

A lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, Sager finally got to see his team end its 108-year World Series drought in October — and cash in on a bet he’d been placing on them since 1981.

“We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Craig Sager. #SagerStrong,” the team tweeted after his death.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement about the longtime Turner talent: “I — along with the entire NBA family — am deeply saddened by the passing of Craig Sager,” Silver said.

“Craig was as vital to the NBA as the players and coaches. A true original and an essential voice on Turner Sports’ NBA coverage for 26 seasons, Craig chronicled some of the most memorable moments in league history and was a ubiquitous presence with his splashy suits and equally colorful personality. Craig earned widespread respect for his insightful reporting and inspired so many most recently with his courage,” he continued. “Our hearts go out to his wife, Stacy; his children, Kacy, Craig Jr., Krista, Riley and Ryan; and his friends and colleagues.”

NBA teams will be observing a moment of silence in Sager’s memory.

See some of the many tweets in his memory below.

#SagerStrong

A photo posted by Rachel Nichols (@rachel_nichols) on