Craig Sager has had a tough but inspiring 2016 thus far. First his cancer resurfaced and he was given a probable diagnosis of only 3-6 months before losing that fight. However, Sager refused to just lay down and die, instead accepting an opportunity to cover last night’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals, with an outpouring of support from his friends and colleagues.
During last night’s game, Sager got to chatting with Mike Gallagher, who was shooting Game 6 for WJET, the local channel for Erie, Pennsylvania. As well as being of being one of the top guys at WJET, Gallagher is also a family friend and mentor of University of Pittsburgh’s running back and 2014 ACC Player of the Year James Conner, who was recently declared cancer-free after being diagnosed with hodgkins lymphoma in 2015.
“Conner’s mentor and family friend Mike Gallagher was shooting Game 6 of the Finals (sic) for WJET in Conner’s hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania, and said he was chatting before the game with Sager, whom Gallagher said was familiar with Conner’s story and asked if he could call the football player.”
Sage also shared a moment with LeBron James after the game.
“After asking James several questions about the game and his 41-point performance, Sager congratulated him on the victory.
“First of all, let me ask you a question,” James said with a wide grin. “How in the hell do you go 30-plus years without getting a Finals game? That don’t make no sense.”
Decked out in one of his trademark colorful suits, this one a black number with blue and silver flowers, Sager beamed as James continued his salute.
“I’m happy to see you, man,” James said. “Much love and respect. I’m happy I was able to witness it in front of these fans. We really appreciate you.”
Sager replied, “Thanks for entertaining me.””
Listen bros, it’s been a rough few weeks for the human race. Like real rough. But it’s stories like these that should stand to remind us that the world isn’t just a black hole of horrible and we’re just goldfish caught in its gravitational pull. Cancer sucks. I know plenty of people who fought cancer, both successfully and unsuccessfully. But the attitude you have about your situation and the steps you take to go out on a positive note, that’s way more important. Did Sager need to call Conner? Of course not. Did LeBron need to go out of his way after a huge win and speak to a man who he admired with respect and support? Nope. But they both did. Because not everyone’s heart is a piece of coal surrounded by barbed wire. Go do something nice for someone today, bros. Start the weekend off right.