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Reaction to the death of NBA reporter Craig Sager at age 65

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/16/2016 By The Associated Press
FILE- In this May 12, 2015, file photo, broadcaster Craig Sager, left, talks with Los Angeles Clippers' Glen Davis prior to Game 5 of the NBA basketball Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets in Houston. Sager, the longtime NBA sideline reporter famous for his flashy suits and probing questions, has died after a battle with cancer, Turner Sports announced Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. He was 65. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File) © The Associated Press FILE- In this May 12, 2015, file photo, broadcaster Craig Sager, left, talks with Los Angeles Clippers' Glen Davis prior to Game 5 of the NBA basketball Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets in Houston. Sager, the longtime NBA sideline reporter famous for his flashy suits and probing questions, has died after a battle with cancer, Turner Sports announced Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. He was 65. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Saddened reactions to the death of Craig Sager and heartfelt remembrances of the witty, flamboyantly dressed sports reporter filled social media after he died Thursday at age 65 following a battle with cancer.

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo wears a shirt to honor NBA broadcaster Craig Sager who died earlier before an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) © The Associated Press Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo wears a shirt to honor NBA broadcaster Craig Sager who died earlier before an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

There were plenty of outpourings from the world of basketball, of course, where he was best known.

"He was an amazing guy. The courage that he showed the last few years was incredible in his fight," reigning NBA Coach of the Year Steve Kerr said before Golden State hosted the Knicks with a tribute planned. "It's just a tough day."

Having worked with Sager for eight years in television, Kerr noted, "He had a spirit and an energy that very few people I've ever met possess."

Others around the NBA celebrated Sager— from teams such as the Chicago Bulls or Indiana Pacers and individual current and former players such as LeBron James , who called him a friend. Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul said Sager was "1 of a kind."

"Thank you for being you!" Golden State Warriors star and two-time MVP Stephen Curry tweeted. "Brought the best out of everyone you met. #sagerstrong"

Dwyane Wade looks straight into a camera for a video in which he movingly speaks about Sager's legacy, which "will never be forgotten," and notes how he "left us with so many stories to tell." The Philadelphia 76ers posted a video of an ailing Sager interviewing recent Hall of Fame inductee Allen Iverson , who tells the reporter, "I love you, man."

"Long Live Craig," Warriors star Kevin Durant tweeted. "We love you! Rest in Paradise."

Young Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns posted a photo on Instagram of Sager interviewing him after he won the skills competition during All-Star weekend in Toronto last year, and wrote "Words can't explain how honored, humbled, and excited I was to be interviewed by a legend like you at this moment. The sports world will never be the same without you."

Former Detroit Pistons "Bad Boy" Dennis Rodman once told Sports Illustrated that Sager tracked him down when Rodman went AWOL in 1993 and talked him out of committing suicide.

"Craig Sager thanks for saving my life when I was in dire need of help in Detroit back in 1993," Rodman tweeted on Thursday. "Condolences to your family. RIP my friend."

And there were offerings of condolences from college hoops, too, including reigning NCAA men's champion Villanova , which accompanied its message with a photo of Sager speaking to Wildcats star Kris Jenkins at this year's Final Four.

But Sager was known to, and appreciated by, folks from far outside his area of expertise, so tributes came from all over, whether from the World Series champion Chicago Cubs or the Pro Football Hall of Fame , which called him "one of the greatest broadcasters in all of sports."

Condolences and respect also poured in from the broadcasting world, which held Sager in the highest regard. Rachel Nichols, an ESPN reporter who previously worked with Sager at Turner Sports, gave a touching tribute at the open of her NBA show, "The Jump."

"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 he had and the family he had around him," Nichols said. "His son was one of his bone marrow donors. His wife, Stacy, who has been incredible by his side. They just celebrated their anniversary yesterday, and I know it was important to Craig to be able to do that."

One simple indication of the breadth of Sager's appeal away from the world of sports: Those commenting on Twitter ranged from the likes of Vice President Joe Biden, who wrote that Sager "died as he lived — with courage, passion, perseverance," to rappers Drake and Lil Wayne, who declared that Sager is "Gone but never forgotten."

"Rest in peace Craig aka Shiny Suit Man," Drake posted on Instagram . "Glad I got to talk with you at All Star."

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