While we have our eyes on the court, tonight’s game between Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder will see some of the focus shift to the sidelines.
SAGER RETURNS TO TV TONIGHT
Legendary sideline reporter Craig Sager will make his return tonight when Chicago Bulls host Oklahoma City Thunder on TNT.
Sager has spent the last 11 months away from the television after battling leukaemia.
“I’m very grateful, very thankful, and I got up today and it was like the first day of school,” Sager said after the Chicago Bulls finished their shootaround in preparation for their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. “You’re a little nervous. I’ve done it before but everything’s a little different. It’s a long 11 months, believe me.
“But I was very fortunate I had some doctors I believed in, had some good care. I’m back. A little bit lighter, I don’t know if you can see it on TV but I lost close to 50 pounds, got some of it back, but I had to get some new clothes because all those great things I had before don’t fit anymore.”
Sager also said Thursday he’s “totally in remission.” According to previous reports, he had bone marrow and stem cells transplanted from his son, Craig Sager Jr.
Sager, who has made a name for himself over the years because of his colorful interviews and even more colorful clothing, said that while the process of returning to work has been arduous, he has tried to stay positive since the leukemia diagnosis.
“I never had a bad day mentally. I really didn’t,” he said. “I was very optimistic, positive, believed in my doctors. Sure, some days physically were worse than others, but I always felt that if I did what they said to do, I’d be all right. It took longer than I thought, because I had a very tough infection and then I came down with pneumonia, and when you compound pneumonia with leukemia, people start talking mortality rates and all. I didn’t pay any attention to it. Maybe I was naive, but I really didn’t think about the negative things. I just said, ‘I want to get back.'”
Sager was giving hugs and receiving handshakes throughout his time on the United Center floor Thursday.
HAWKS UNVEIL WILKINS STATUE
The Atlanta Hawks have unveiled a large statue of franchise legend Dominique Wilkins on Thursday at Philips Arena.
Measuring 13½ feet in height, the granite statue was unveiled at a private luncheon and ceremony on the arena floor. Guests included NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the current Hawks roster and coaching staff, Hawks alumni and NBA notables of Wilkins’ generation such as Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler, Bernard King and Charles Barkley.
POPOVICH: I’LL BE ON VACATION IF THEY EXTEND SEASON
Increasingly, there’s been talk about possibly extending the NBA season past June, in an effort to allow players longer periods of rest between games.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has famously given his aging stars plenty of R&R time during the regular season, but when it comes to playing past June, Pop is strongly against the idea.
Popovich says he’ll already be on vacation if there are games still being played in July.
Via the Express-News:
“I think the season is long enough,” Popovich said. “I will not come to work in July. If there’s a game in July, count me out.”
Even a championship game? […] “Count me out. Count me out. Life is too short.”
“I’ve heard proposals about them moving The Finals past the Fourth of July,” commissioner Adam Silver said during the All-Star break, which has been fleshed out by several more days to give participating players a rest. “Generally the view has been in addition it just feels out of sync once you get into the summer historically those haven’t been viewed as the best television nights, once you get into July, and just in terms of households watching TV. [….] I will say maybe that’s something we should look at, too. If we’re truly going to take a fresh look at this, we have to examine what the appropriate time is to begin the season and when we should end it.”