Craig Sager got the chance to work an NBA Finals game Thursday night as he joined the broadcast crew lined up by ESPN. Before he got ready to perform his regular sideline duties and share a nice moment with LeBron James at the end of the night, Sager took some time to reach out and talk to another cancer fighter, Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner.

Sager, of course, is continuing a battle with leukemia and has served as an inspiration for many faced with the same challenges that come with the disease or any other form of cancer. Among those inspired by his fight is Pitt’s star running back. Conner is battling through his own health problems after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma late last fall. Conner has recently been declared cancer-free and is working his way to prepare to return to the football field this season, but he knows the fight will continue.

Prior to Game Six of the NBA Finals, a friend of Conner’s got a chance to meet and talk to Sager. WJET videographer Mike Gallagher took the opportunity to connect Sager and Conner through the miracle that is FaceTime, allowing the two inspirational sports figures to briefly connect and allow Sager to offer some encouragement to the young football player. According to a report from ESPN, it was all Sager’s idea.

How cool is that of Sager? Even cooler? The video footage of the phone call, provided by Gallagher.


About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.