TNT NBA reporter Craig Sager received a rare third blood marrow transplant Wednesday, and while he appears to be in good spirits, his years-long battle with acute myeloid leukemia only gets harder and harder to watch.

“I’ve never had any of those days where I’ve actually said why me, or I can’t do it,” he said. “But I’ll have some dark nights where I’ll be here by myself and maybe getting some medicine that’s making me jump around like a rabbit. And I’m in pain and I’ve got chills and I’ve got fever and I’ve got everything mixed into one and I’m throwing up and have diarrhea … and I’ll just say: ‘Stacy, I need you. I need you.’

“And she’ll come to me and just hold me and it just makes it better,” he said.

And here he is taking stock of a truly absurd amount of cancer treatment:

“I’ve had every chemo in the alphabet, most of them more than once,” he said. “Some of them that aren’t even in the alphabet, they’re just numbers — clinical trials. But I bet if you added all those up it would have to be like 60- or 70-something. I’ve had 23 bone marrow aspirations. Having one isn’t fun and I’ve had 23. So that’s been tough.”

Sager, 65, has had leukemia since 2014, and in March he announced that he was no longer in remission. He appeared on the sideline sporadically during the NBA Postseason but was forced to cancel a trip to the Olympics. Wednesday marked his third bone marrow transplant, with this one coming from an anonymous 20-year-old donor.

But Sager’s bout with cancer has been as inspiring as it has been tragic, due to his truly remarkable attitude toward the whole ordeal. Despite tons of publicity along every step of his treatment, Sager has never made the attention about garnering sympathy and has always voiced positivity. Even as he endures something most of us can hardly imagine, his worldview remains unabashedly positive.  This quote about not giving up that is both uplifting and kind of heart-breaking:

“Man, life is too beautiful, too wonderful, there’s just too many things,” he said. “It’s not just you. It’s your family and kids and all. Fight. Fight until the end. Fight as hard as you can.”

Sager told the AP that he likes to gamble and has “bet on a lot of things with a lot higher odds than this.” He has beaten some long odds before, and we’re rooting for him to keep it up long into the future.


About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

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