Turner Sports reporter Craig Sager, a Chicago area native, received the coveted Jimmy V Award handed out at the ESPYS 2016 on Wednesday.
The popular NBA broadcaster, who is suffering from an acute form of Leukemia, thanked his family, friend, colleagues and the NBA for the honor. Following a video narrative that paid tribute to the NBA reporter, Sager took to the stage at the Microsoft Center in Los Angeles to receive the award named after Jim Valvano, the late NCAA- winning basketball coach who fought cancer, from Vice President Joe Biden, ABC 7 reported.
The ESPY Awards honor the outstanding athletes and their best moments of the previous year. Biden referred to Sager as “a man of courage and loyalty with a hell of a team behind him.” Sager talked about how his life changed after being diagnosed with cancer, saying he tried to live a lifetime in those three weeks.
“You try to live a lifetime of moments in three weeks, but then you say, ‘The hell with three weeks!’” the ESPN quoted Sager as saying at the ESPY 2016. “To everybody out there, we are making progress — incredible progress,” Sager said “… We are going to find a cure for cancer. But we need your help.”
Leukemia has not been able to disrupt Sager’s work, who has put up a brave front against his condition. “I will continue to keep fighting, sucking the marrow out of life as life sucks the marrow out of me,” he said.
He stayed off work for 11 months, as he underwent treatment and a bone marrow transplant from his son. He returned to duty in March 2015 during the TNT’s coverage of the NBA. However, in April, during an interview with the HBO, he said his Leukemia was not in remission any longer.
Sager was introduced into sports as Willie the Wildcat mascot for the football and basketball teams of the Northwestern University. In 1972, he started off his career as a broadcaster and soon became one of the most endearing voices of the arena.