VIDEO: Sager makes return to sidelines in March 2015
Craig Sager’s battle with leukemia has entered new territory.
The TNT announcer told Bernard Goldberg of HBO’s “Real Sports” that doctors told him in February he was no longer in remission from the acute myeloid leukemia he has been battling for the past two years.
Known for his flamboyant attire and his testy/comical in-game sideline exchanges with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, the 64-year-old Sager said he is now entering “uncharted waters” in his fight that has included multiple courses of treatment, including chemotherapy.
“I’ve already had two stem cell transplants,” Sager told HBO. “Very rarely does somebody have a third. So I have to maintain my strength, so I can go through this.”
Sager has suffered previous setbacks in waging the battle for his health that began in April 2014. Mere weeks after being cleared to resume television work in March of 2015, Sager’s leukemia returned and he had to give up his assignments during the 2015 NCAA tournament and “NBA on TNT” telecasts.
Following several months of treatment that included a transplant of bone marrow donated by his son, Craig II, Sager came back for the NBA’s Media Day to open the season in September, worked on Opening Night and had his first televised reunion with Popovich in December.
Sager continued to make monthly trips to Houston for treatment throughout the season and resumed his responsibilities at the NBA’s annual All-Star Weekend in Toronto in February, but his health also took a turnaround last month.
“Still kicking, still fighting,” Sager told Goldberg in the interview. “I haven’t won the battle. It’s not over yet. But I haven’t lost it, either. There have been some victories and some setbacks, but I still have to fight it. A lot of work to do.”
In a statement released through Turner Sports, Sager clarified the following about his “Real Sports” interview:
“I’m grateful to HBO for telling my story and I’d like to thank everyone for their ongoing support. I have acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive type of cancer. The typical prognosis is 3-6 months to live, but I would like to stress that is for a patient who is not receiving treatment. Fortunately, I am receiving the best treatment in the world and I remain fully confident I will win this battle.
“Again, I would like to thank everyone for your generosity and encouragement. I sincerely appreciate it and it means so much to me and my family. I look forward to continuing my work on the sidelines for Turner Sports.”
Sager plans to continue carrying out his NBA duties on “NBA on TNT” broadcasts, and he’s scheduled to work the sidelines for the March 29 matchup between the Wizards and Warriors, March 31 between the Bulls and Rockets, and the April 7 between the Bulls and Heat.
The full interview aired during Tuesday’s episode of “Real Sports” on HBO.