Craig Sager, the colorful NBA sideline reporter for Turner Broadcasting, will be honored by ESPN, getting the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs.
Sager was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and returned to the air in 2015. He’s currently covering the NBA playoffs. TNT announced that Sager would receive the award during Oklahoma City's win over Golden State Tuesday night.
The ESPYs will be broadcast live July 13 on ABC, which like ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Co.
“Craig’s positive attitude and passion have always been cornerstones of the coverage he does for TNT, and those attributes are a large part of what endears him to fans. He serves as an inspiration to many, as he continues his work while battling this devastating disease,” said ESPYs executive producer Maura Mandt.
The Jimmy V award is named for former North Carolina State basketball coach Jimmy Valvano. Valvano died of bone cancer in 1993 weeks after delivering a famous speech at the ESPY awards. “Don't give up. Don't ever give up,” was Valvano’s memorable message.
“When I was diagnosed with cancer, like so many other people, my life changed forever. Over the last two years, I’ve done everything in my power to live my life as normally as possible. But at times, you need support, and I’m so thankful to everyone who has been there for me,” said Sager, who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in April.
“One of those pieces of inspiration has come from Jim Valvano himself,” Sager added. “I have his speech saved on my phone, and now, 23 years later, its impact lives on with me and countless others. There is no greater honor than receiving this award, and I am very humbled.”
Sager is in his 24th season on the NBA on TNT. He was nominated for a Sports Emmy in 2012. He’s currently undergoing clinical trials at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.