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Gregg Popovich interview with Craig Sager Jr. actually a get-well wish (VIDEO)

Apr 20, 2014, 5:43 PM EDT

Craig Sager is TNT’s tenured sideline reporter, a man well-respected in his profession who is out of action at the moment due to being diagnosed with acute leukemia just before the playoffs began.

Sager’s professional nemesis has historically been Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who often used those in-game interview opportunities to make fun of Sager’s wardrobe, when he wasn’t busy being difficult in providing curt answers to largely innocuous questions.

But Popovich is a genuinely great guy below the occasionally rough exterior, and showed it to a national audience during the Spurs’ Game 1 win over the Mavericks. Once the third quarter was finished, Popovich was kind and responsive to Craig Sager Jr., who filled in for his father on live television.

“You did a great job, but I’d rather have your dad standing here,” Popovich said once the interview was finished. He then looked into the camera and delivered the following heartfelt message.

“Craig, we miss you. You’ve been an important part of all of this for a long time, doing a great job. We want your fanny back on the court, and I promise I’ll be nice. Get back here. Good luck.”

The best part of all of this is that it wasn’t supposed to go down this way. The interview was supposed to be pre-taped, but Popovich insisted on doing it live.

  1. wesermandc - Apr 20, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    Game 1 win over the warriors huh?

    • prokilla - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      is just a game of guess how many errors in every post! over / under +- 3

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        Don’t worry: there will always be someone who keeps count.

  2. vikesdynasty - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Awesome. I used to strongly dislike the spurs and pop but as I’ve grown up I’m not really sure what I didn’t like. These guys are true pros and funny as hell.

    • apkyletexas - Apr 20, 2014 at 9:21 PM

      As a huge NBA fan living in Texas, the past 20 years have been simply amazing. You would be hard pressed to argue that our group of legendary big men in Duncan, Nowitzky, the Admiral, and the Dream hasn’t been about the best two decades of 7 footers in one state for such an extended time in NBA history.

      Nine rings between them in twenty years. Other than Bill Russell’s 13 rings in the early days when Boston dominated a poorly run league, I doubt you’ll ever see such dominance, possibly in any sport.

      • tomtravis76 - Apr 20, 2014 at 9:47 PM

        You can’t claim an entire state in pro sports and be proud of that.

      • andrewproughcfe - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:23 AM

        I’m not “claiming the state”. I’m saying we’ve had the best basketball in Texas the past 20 years that any state could ever claim, in terms of watching great battles and rivalries. I’m a Spurs fan, so I don’t “claim” the Rockets or Mavs success – they are just both great rival organizations, and my team is a great organization. And, as far as successful big men, no one outside of Shaq can really touch what you’ve seen from the three Texas teams for two straight decades.

        It will be interesting to see if Dwight Howard starts adding to that rivalry in this season’s playoffs. Looks like he’s doing alright for himself so far tonight, with 19 and 12 and a Rockets lead late in the 4th.

      • xmen1906 - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:10 AM

        Cali has had some pretty epic battles in the last 20 years

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:17 PM


        you don’t know Texans very well then at all…

        OF COURSE they may count their ENTIRE state…

        they do that for EVERYTHING…

  3. redbaronx - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    Popovich is the best. Gotta love the guy!

  4. gameisours - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Thanks for posting this. World needs to see what a class is, when our system of values is broken. Hats off to Pop

  5. 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Sager’s son looks like he plays lacrosse for Cornell.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      Now THAT’S A GOOD ONE. I would have guessed tennis at Univ. of Miami!

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        Either way, he’s definitely going to try to steal your girlfriend

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        He looks just like me: I’ve got the pony tail, too. CantonBound’s my girlfriend lately and you can have her!

    • nflcrimerankingscom - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      wow a Cornell shoutout. nice!

  6. fnc111 - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    Pop voted for Obama. Ugh. Smh.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      He had no choice. He didn’t want to vote for the party of stupid candidate!

    • bigmeechy74 - Apr 20, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      oh cool did you bring politics in to this? How interesting! What are your views on healthcare and abortion and stuff?

  7. tigers182 - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    He looks like the character sketch of a guy who has ever robbed anyone ever.

  8. kinggw - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    You could see Pop on the verge of tears. Very classy.

    • apkyletexas - Apr 20, 2014 at 9:29 PM

      Little known fact – Sager made it as a walk-on in BOTH football and basketball at Northwestern. I think a lot of the NBA old timers have a ton of respect for him as way more than just a week dressed sideline reporter.

      • apkyletexas - Apr 20, 2014 at 9:37 PM

        Meant to say “well dressed”, not “weak”. Craig’s outfits are anything but “weak”.

  9. noleitup - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    Im not crying its just all this pollen from the season change.

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      I’m not crying, it’s just been raining on my face.

  10. retxedfred - Apr 20, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    Pop looks like a cross between Harrison Ford and Donald Sutherland! Love the guy!

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