Sager is known in the sports media world for his colorful wardrobe, so when hosts Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Ernie Johnson went on the air on Sunday, they all wore flamboyant suits of their own in tribute to their sick colleague. Before the four sportscasters were introduced, the announcer referred to their wardrobe choices as “special Craig Sager throwback uniforms.”
Sager’s son, Craig Sager Jr., also paid tribute to his father by wearing a colorful suit on the air. The sportscaster’s son was asked to interview Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in lieu of his father’s absence, so instead of wearing any old suit, he decided to wear what he claims is the only suit in his father’s closet that hadn’t already been worn.
Popovich, who has been interviewed on the sidelines by Sager on numerous occasions, joked with Sager Jr. while offering a heartfelt message to his sick friend.
“You did a great job, but I’d rather have your dad standing here,” said Popovich to Sager Jr. before turning his attention to the camera. “Craig, we miss you. You’ve been an important part of all of this for a long time, doing a great job. We want your fanny back on the court, and I promise I’ll be nice. Get back here. Good luck.”
Later on in the day, TNT hosts Steve Kerr and Marv Albert continued the day-long tribute by donning their own Sager-inspired suits during coverage of Game 1 between the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards.
The news of Sager’s illness came to light after Sager Jr. took to Twitter to announce that his famous father had begun acute treatment.
“My Dad’s 3-4-week acute leukemia treatment starts tmrw,” tweeted Sager Jr. on Thursday. “Be thinking of him & let’s get him back on the sidelines soon.”
Sager began his broadcast career in the 1970s before beginning at TNT in the early 1980s. Most people recognize Sager for his outrageous suit choices, and a Tumblr page was even created by a fan in honor of his wacky wardrobe. Sager is not expected to be covering the upcoming NBA playoffs as he starts treatment for leukemia.