LeBron James praises Craig Sager in touching interview (video)
LeBron James may have had a performance for the ages to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory on Thursday night to force a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. But when it was time for him to discuss his 41-point, 11-assist and eight-rebound performance following the game, the Cavs superstar made sure to pay tribute to the beloved man interviewing him.
Longtime NBA on TNT courtside reporter Craig Sager was working his first NBA Finals game in his illustrious 34-year career after his employer and ESPN worked out an arrangement.
Not surprisingly, Sager, known for his flashy wardrobe choices, was dressed to the nines.
Craig Sager suit game strong for Game 6 tonight. pic.twitter.com/Q19uU5jmUz
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 16, 2016
“My closet was empty… I’d used everything up, so I had to go shopping and get something new,” Sager told ESPN’s Lindsay Czarniak during a pregame interview.
At one point during the game, Sager was shown on Quicken Loans Arena’s Jumbotron and the fans in attendance responded with a standing ovation.
Craig Sager got a standing ovation last night. It was beautiful. https://t.co/er5ezcKVvu https://t.co/VHmajBwell
— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 17, 2016
Following the Cavaliers’ 115-101 Game 6 victory, James made it clear during his interview with Sager that he couldn’t believe it’s taken this long for the events of the evening involving the longtime reporter to happen.
LeBron tells Sager how happy he is that Craig finally gets a Finals game, gets videobombed by Richard Jefferson pic.twitter.com/QkiBd3ISVk
— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) June 17, 2016
“First of all, let me ask you a question,” James said, smiling, via NBA.com. “How in the hell do you go 30-plus years without getting a Finals game? That don’t make no sense.”
Sager of course has been battling leukemia since being diagnosed in 2014. He has continued to work throughout his treatment and has received on-air praise and tributes from the likes of Stephen Curry and Gregg Popovich and Fred Hoiberg almost each and every time he works a game.
“I’m happy to see you, man,” James continued. “Much love and respect. I’m happy I was able to witness it in front of these fans. We really appreciate you.”
Sager, as always, tried to deflect the show of respect but nevertheless expressing his appreciation for it.
“Thanks for entertaining me,” Sager replied.