I remember when I was in college sitting at home with my friends. This was the first time in my life that I had cable TV. Up until that point, I didn’t know much about Craig Sager. I had just started my studies in journalism and I still had no idea what direction I wanted to go with it. Naturally, sports was my first choice. But I still was very open to many different paths with the degree.
I was watching the NBA on TNT and of course, Sager patrolled the sidelines asking questions before, during and after the game. I recall sitting and watching the postgame interview. I can’t recall who he was talking to, but I remember vividly how I felt about him. I thought his suit was pretty cool but what captured me was the way he presented his question to the player. He didn’t just ask a question or simply recite a statement, instead he painted the question. He presented the stats, shared the story of the momentum before finally asking the question. For most reporters, you want to get to the question immediately. But for Sager, he doesn’t do that. He instead sets the stage for the question.
“I love how he just paints the picture before asking the question,” I remember remarking. It was that approach that amazed me. Sager knew how ask the question in a way that helped the player remember what had happened, informed of stats and did it in a kind, caring tone that nobody could deny.