The Atlanta and sports connections abound as Atlantan, and veteran NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager, made history last week as the first-ever honorary pick in the Harlem Globetrotters 10th annual player draft, today said he’s “honored” to have been selected by the “biggest ambassadors in the sport.”
The legendary Harlem Globetrotters are now based in Atlanta.
Sager, who has been reporting from the sidelines of NBA games for Turner Sports for nearly two decades, has continued to work during his public fight with leukemia. He is scheduled to work the sidelines for NBC Sports during coverage of the men’s basketball competition at this summer’s Olympic games in Rio.
“Being entertained by the Globetrotters is a family experience that the Sagers have savored since my dad took me to see Marques Haynes and Meadowlark Lemon at Chicago Stadium when I was just six years old,” said Sager.
“Basketball is America’s sport, played worldwide, and nobody has been a bigger ambassador for the sport than the Globetrotters. I am honored to have been selected in their 2016 draft, and although I’m past my athletic prime, I will work diligently to make a contribution to the greatest basketball players and entertainers the world has ever seen.”
Sager, 64, has been a staple of the NBA on TNT and Turner Broadcasting. Easily identified by his colorfully outrageous suits and warm personality, Sager has been a favorite of players, coaches, fans and viewers for years. Since being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2014, Sager has persistently covered the NBA through treatments and recovery.
He was invited to work his first ever NBA Finals this year, as part of ESPN’s broadcast team, and will work basketball games for NBC at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
“To have someone like Craig be our first-ever honorary draft pick is truly an honor,” Howard Smith, president of the Harlem Globetrotters said. “Craig has been so instrumental in introducing fans to the sport, that we felt this was the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the legacy he has created around the game of basketball.”
Sager was joined by five other selections during Monday’s draft: Devan Douglas (2016 College Slam Dunk champion, University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.); Missy Franklin (Olympic gold medal swimmer, Centennial, Colo.); Kevin Hart (actor and comedian, Philadelphia, Pa.); Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. (Brazilian and international soccer star, Sao Paulo, Brazil); and Jordan Spieth (PGA Tour golfer, Dallas, Tex.). For more information on the Harlem Globetrotters, visit here.