Gregg Popovich does classy in-game interview with Craig Sager’s son (video)
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is easily the most surly, cantankerous and often rude sideline interviews among head coaches in the NBA. One of Pop’s most frequent foils and the recipient of the coach’s cranky interview demeanor is TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager, as Spurs games frequently receive national television exposure.
It was announced last week that the veteran reporter has been diagnosed with leukemia and due to treatment will be unable to take his customary spot along the court during TNT’s broadcasts of the NBA playoffs.
Everyone involved with NBA basketball of course experienced heavy hearts upon learning the sad news regarding Sager’s illness, as he is one of the most respected and well-liked reporters in the business.
As a nod to the profound impact Sager has had on the covering of the NBA from the trenches, TNT handed his microphone off to his son, Craig Sager Jr. for Sunday’s broadcast of the Spurs’ Game 2 playoff series showdown with the Dallas Mavericks at AT&T Center.
During the game, Craig Sager Jr. did an interview with the usually curmudgeonly Popovich and during the exchange, Pop made sure to make it clear that his thoughts are with the longtime reporter.
The highlight of the interview, transcribed by Business Insider:
Sager Jr.: What do you need to do to pull away in the fourth quarter and close this one out?
Popovich.: We need more stops … great job, great questions from Craig Jr.
Sager Jr.: I talked to my dad to see if he had a question he said, ‘Son, you’re on your own.’
Popovich: You did a great job, but I’d rather have your dad standing here. Craig we miss you. You’ve been an important part of all this for a long time, doing a great job. We want your fanny back on the court. I promise I’ll be nice, get back here.
And the video of the touching moment:
Very classy move by Popovich. It’s clear that in spite of the way in which Pop routinely treats Sager during interviews that he truly likes and respects the man.
The class exhibited by the Spurs coach didn’t begin and end with his exchange with Sager’s son during the interview, either. Craig Jr. tweeted the following after the game indicating just how much of a class act Popovich is:
Popovich gave me a hand written letter to give my Dad tomorrow. The whole Spurs organization is filled with class and great people. Thanks
— Craig Sager II (@CraigSagerJr) April 20, 2014
The fellas on the “NBA on TNT” set also showed that their thoughts are with their ailing colleague, who is known to for having quite the flair when it comes to his in-game attire.
Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal all donned distinctly Sager-esque suits for the show (via Sports Grid):
Get well, soon, Craig Sager. The playoffs just aren’t the same without him.