Rachel Nichols Pays Beautiful Tribute to Craig Sager While Announcing His Passing on ESPN

Rachel Nichols announced Craig Sager's death on ESPN and paid a beautiful tribute to her former colleague.

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Complex Original

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Rachel Nichols and Craig Sager were colleagues and fellow NBA sideline reporters for three years at Turner Sports. Nichols, who has since moved back to ESPN, announced Sager’s passing today on ESPN2’s basketball program The Jump.

Nichols had just learned of Sager’s passing “2 or 3 minutes” before she went to air, but she fought through tears to deliver an incredibly moving tribute to her dear friend, who died Thursday in Atlanta after a long battle with cancer.

“I have to tell you, having had so many conversations with him and his family along the way, the way Craig fought this spoke so much to the kind of life that he lived, the kind of values that he had, and the family that he had around him,” Nichols said.

As Sager had promised, he fought to the very end. Nichols mentioned that the broadcaster and his wife celebrated their anniversary Wednesday, and Sager was in attendance for his daughter Riley’s basketball games earlier this week. He just wouldn’t let leukemia stop him, no matter how many times it came back.

“I was talking to his son just a couple days ago,” Nichols said. “He did not want to start hospice or go into the last stage of treatment, but he knew that he was leaving his family in good hands and that they had been able to absorb so much of his strength.”

Co-hosts Brian Windhorst and Tracy McGrady later joined Nichols on The Jump and joined in paying tribute.

“This is a sad day, man,” McGrady said. “This hurts. Craig was just one of those guys full of energy. As a guy that was interviewed by him several times, there was never a time where I felt like I didn’t want to talk to Craig Sager. No matter what was going on, he just made me feel comfortable.”

Windhorst mentioned two of Sager’s most defining characteristics: his unique style and fearlessness.

“There was never a situation that he couldn’t handle,” Windhorst said.

You can watch the full video above. To see the many moving tributes from other NBA figures, click here.

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