Thursday, June 29, 2017

Celebrating the Life + Legend of Craig Sager

photo cred: Fernado Medina/NBAE/Getty Images.
Late last year, the sports world experienced a heartbreaking hit with the loss of Craig Sager, American sports reporter/journalist, who was battling leukemia. The tragedy caught everyone off guard as we all developed a bond to the animated journalist with colorful suites. Scrolling through Twitter and hearing about this news, I was in a state of pure disbelief; it didn't hit me and to be frank, I'm not typically moved by celebrity deaths. However, in this particular instance, I gradually went became shocked It was so shocking that my first time really mourning was almost a month later while I was having my morning coffee and working on this blog. In one year, we lost Prince, Muhammad Ali, and the year before that it was Stuart Scott. I hadn't considered how much Sager's story impacted me personally until that very moment. 

I chose to not script a think piece in the moment. I wanted to let the memories marinate. I wanted my words to do him justice, even if no one read them. 

Way before being exposed to women in sports journalism, there was Craig Sager and I vaguely remember wanting to do what he did to some extent. Growing up, he was just one of those pleasantly familiar personalities who always had this unforgettable way of intergrating story telling and news reporting. He lived in such a way that speculators were almost obligated to know who he was, one of those moments being when he dodged top notch security at an Atlanta Braves game in 1974 just to interview Hank Aaron after his record breaking 715th home run. Legendary. I remember learning about this, because it's one of those things that my dad brings up annually, a historic moment that just so happens to falls on his birthday to make it all the more special to him and therefore, to me also. It's just so hard to not find inspiration in someone who lived out loud and walked so boldly and unapologetically in his purpose; whose illuminating humility would never portray just how much the world loved him. 

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Sager is sketched so heavily in the crevices of my heart and is partially responsible for the way I epitomize sports journalism. His approach was so humble, yet incredibly driven and his delivery was so flawless that even post-life, he will continue to set the industry standard for what sports journalism should be.

Today is Craig Sager's birthday and he would've been 66. Today we celebrate his life, his legacy, and his determination to find victory where most welcome defeat.

"Time is not something that can be bought, something that can be wagered with God and it is not an endless supply; time is simply how you live your life...If I learned anything through all of this, it's that each and every day is a canvas waiting to be painted; an opportunity for love, for fun, for living, for learning." 
-Craig Sager, 2016 ESPY Awards

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