We learned yesterday that Craig Sager’s cancer is no longer remission, but the news is even worse than that for the NBA on TNT sideline reporter.
Speaking to Bernard Goldberg as part of a Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel segment that will air Tuesday night on HBO, Sager revealed doctors have given him three-to-six months to live.
Goldberg: What’s the diagnosis?
Sager: That’s what I asked. What are my chances. How long do I have to live? Is there a cure? So they talk in terms of, “Everybody is totally different. There’s no recipe for how we treat leukemia.”
I go, “I know, what are the chances?” And, well, “Normally you’ve got three-to-six months to live. But somebody might only have a week, somebody might have five years. You could be the person with the five years”. And I go “Well, whatever it takes. I’m not going to be that three-to-six months, I’m going to be that five years.” I said, “We’re going to make medical history.”
This is devastating news for the entire NBA community, which has come to love Sager’s lively spirit and colorful wardrobe. Over more than 20 years at Turner Sports, Sager has become a staple of TNT’s NBA coverage, developing wonderful rapport with guys like Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Kevin Garnett.
The Real Sports clip chronicles Sager’s battle with cancer, including when he returned to the sideline last year after undergoing chemotherapy. That comeback ended abruptly when his disease returned, and he was given two weeks to live. Sager then underwent a basically unprecedented 14 straight days of chemo, 24 hours a day, which, along with a second bone marrow transplant from his son, Craig Jr., saved his life.
Sager felt better by the end of 2015 and pulled himself together for All-Star Weekend in February. Right around then, however, doctors told him his cancer was no longer in remission.
Sager told Real Sports that basketball has been somewhat therapeutic for him throughout his battle with leukemia.
Oh my God, it’s the greatest thing ever. When you’re here you forget your platelets are low and your blood count is down and you need to have another bone marrow autopsy on Monday and you’re going to have more cancer treatment. All that is gone.
Sager said he’s “fighting this to the end” and described all he has left to witness and accomplish, particularly with regards to his family.
We’re going to win. I’ve got too much to do. I want to hold Stacy in my arms forever, I want Casey to fulfill her dreams, I want to watch Jr.’s impact on society, I want to walk Krista down the aisle, see Riley go to college. I want to see Ryan play at Wimbledon.
We wish for the best for Sager as he continues to receive treatment. He’s come back from this before, and we can only hope he will again.