Tuesday night on HBO's "Real Sports," TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager shared that the acute myeloid leukemia he has battled for the last two years is no longer in remission .
In 2010, Sager, known for his colorful suits invited me to his home for a walk through of his All-Star Weekend wardrobe. Here's what he shared with me:
For the record, Craig Sager is not a pimp. He just dresses like one --- at least according to NBA icon Charles Barkley.
Sager, an NBA sideline reporter and media personality for TNT, has a reputation for wearing brightly colored outlandish outfits. Take the Coogi jeans with rainbow colored trim and glow-in-the-dark patchwork Nike sneakers he was sporting Wednesday as he packed for one of his biggest sartorial showings of the year: NBA All-Star weekend.
"I try to never wear the same thing twice, " Sager said. "All-Star weekend is the one time I really try to plan."
On occasion, his clothing choices have made as much news as the players he interviews, such as the light-reflecting Gianni Versace suit he was asked to change during All-Star weekend 2001 in Washington. He routinely trades fashion wisdom with players, including Shaquille O'Neal who is disappointed if Sager doesn't come correct in a standout suit with matching shoes and belt.
Sager even turned O'Neal on to Friedman's Shoes, the downtown Atlanta store where Sager has bought almost all of his shoes for about 15 years . Now O'Neal is a regular customer.
"The thing with Craig is he gets away with wearing colors that everyone in the world would be afraid to wear ... yellow, orange, purple, and he loves it. He's not a kid anymore, he's white and you don't expect that. He's white with a black man's soul, " said Bruce Teilhaber, owner of Friedman's.
Sager isn't sure how he got on that particular soul train. He just likes colors. And he likes to be different. At his high school graduation in Batavia, Ill., Sager was forced to conform to the black-and-white dress code. He donned a black jacket with a Nehru collar. Years later, when his yellow, white and blue seersucker suit caused a ruckus on his first broadcast job in Sarasota, Fla., Sager's bosses reprimanded him. "They said, 'You did a great job, but you can't wear clothes like that because it detracts from what you are saying.' I kind of liked that, " Sager said. And he's been wearing his style ever since.
In his color-coordinated closet at home in Canton, Sager plots his outfits for the weekend in Dallas. Sager is reluctant to divulge how much cash he spends each year on his wardrobe, but just this quick preview of his All-Star weekend duds gives a good indication.
As of Wednesday, this was his All-Star lineup:
Friday: A tie in T-Mobile magenta (T-Mobile sponsored Friday's game) and a matching pocket square paired with a pink plaid suit with polka-dot lining from Mr. Albert's in Cleveland. The suit was so huge (58 long to his 44 long), they had enough material after sizing it to make a vest (which he won't wear as it would cover up the T-Mobile tie). He planned to conclude the look with deep purple ostrich-skin shoes bearing a seriously tapered toe.
Today: Sager was considering a blue-patterned linen blazer. The rest was undetermined.
Sunday: For the big game, Sager is pulling out all the stops. In observance of Valentine's Day, his Italo Ferretti tie is covered in red and white crystals. The suit is black velvet by Giorgio Armani. The shirt, red silk by Armani and the shoes, black alligator (with eyes intact). The price tag for this getup? Somewhere north of $7,000.