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Long-Time NBA Reporter Dies of Cancer


Craig Sager, a long-time NBA television reporter, died Thursday after a long fight with cancer. He was known for his colorful clothing and good questions.

This is What’s Trending Today.

In June, VOA Learning English wrote about Craig Sager, the sports television reporter who was fighting cancer.

He was going to report on his first National Basketball Association Finals game although he had covered the NBA for over 30 years.

It was news because the sports network ESPN produced the game broadcast and Sager worked for a rival television network. But the two broadcasting companies reached an agreement to let Sager announce the games because his health was not good.

They thought he might not get another chance to work on an NBA Finals game.

Sager had a blood cancer known as leukemia. He missed a lot of work in 2014, but returned to work in 2015 when his cancer went into remission.

When the cancer came back in 2016, Sager tried many different treatments. They included blood transfusions, chemotherapy, stem cell and bone marrow transplants.

Craig Sager poses with former NBA player Charles Barkley. Sager was being treated for cancer in Houston, Texas and died on Thursday.
Craig Sager poses with former NBA player Charles Barkley. Sager was being treated for cancer in Houston, Texas and died on Thursday.

Sager went back into the hospital last month. He died on Thursday.

His employer, Turner Sports, said, “There will never be another Craig Sager.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said: “Craig was as vital to the NBA as the players and coaches.”

Sager was known for the good questions he asked players and coaches during games. But in recent years, he gained attention for the colorful suits and jackets he wore on television.

A writer for ESPN said he dressed like “a court jester” but “could gather information and tell stories with the best of them.”

He had good relationships with the players and coaches he reported on.

Many of these people expressed their sadness after hearing of Sager’s death.

Baseball star Hank Aaron wrote: “I thought the world of him and he will be sorely missed.”

Scottie Pippen wrote: “His fight to the end is what really impressed me.”

Retired football player Marcus Allen said, “Heaven just gained some colorful attire.”

Steve Kerr is a former NBA player and the current coach of the Golden State Warriors. Before his team’s game on Thursday night, he spoke to the fans.

He said: “We considered a moment of silence but we thought it would be more appropriate to have a moment of joy, instead.”

At that point everyone in the arena stood up and cheered for Sager.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

What do you think of Craig Sager’s story? Let us know in the comments section.

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Words in This Story

rival – n. a person or thing that tries to defeat or be more successful than another

remission – n. a period of time during a serious illness when the patient's health improves

commissionern. an official who is in charge of a major professional sport (such as baseball, football, or hockey)

jester – n. a man who in the past was kept by a ruler to amuse people by acting silly and telling jokes

sorely – adv. very much; badly

attire – n. clothing

appropriate – adj. right or suited for some purpose or situation

joy – n. a feeling of great happiness

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