Gregg Popovich fights back tears remembering Craig Sager

PHOENIX — Gregg Popovich had a unique relationship with Craig Sager, the legendary broadcaster who passed away on Thursday at the age of 65 following a long battle with cancer. Before the Spurs faced the Suns, Popovich spoke only about Sager, and what a special person he was.

“I guess on a day like this, basketball has to take a back seat as we all think about somebody who was very unique, very special,” Popovich said. “Whether you really knew Craig or not, you got the feeling that he was a special person in a lot of different ways. And right now I just feel for his family.

“To talk about him being a professional or good at what he did is a tremendous understatement. All of us who knew him understood that fact, what he was all about as far as work was concerned, but he was a way better person than he was a worker, even though he was amazing in that regard. He loved people, he enjoyed pregame, during games, postgame — he loved all the people around it, and everybody felt that.

“The most amazing part of him is his courage. What he’s endured, and the fight that he’s put up, the courage that he’s displayed during this situation is beyond my comprehension. And if any of us can display half the courage he has to stay on this planet, to live every (day) as if it’s his last, we’d be well off. We all miss him very much.”

Suns head coach Earl Watson also spoke about Sager during his pregame remarks.

“The loss of Craig Sager was big to basketball,” Watson said. “The time he spent to the game and what he dedicated to all of our lives, growing up, we all grew up as fans. He has always been the vision and dream that we had, to play in the NBA and be interviewed by him, to see his presence forever is imprinted in the minds and lives of my generation and generations after and before. So his imprint on basketball is beyond just his time here with us, and it’s a tough loss for the NBA and the game of basketball.”