Even though he’s played an integral role in the development of TNT’s NBA coverage, and needs to get some of the credit with the station garnering Emmys, Craig Sager will always be known for one thing: his style. “Craig Sager’s Suits” is one of the best Tumblrs I’ve ever seen, and it’s easy to figure out why. Sager’s style is colorful, outlandish, brass and eccentric. His presence on TNT’s NBA coverage is like a “Where’s Waldo?” game, except if Waldo was constantly wearing exotic clothing.
When I ran into him during All-Star Weekend earlier this year, I thought he looked like a clown. That’s not an adjective. I mean an actual clown. For some reason, he was wearing Dwight Howard‘s All-Star Weekend sneakers with some pinstriped madness up top. But even as wild as he gets during the February showcase, nothing comes close to his boldness once the second season starts.
The NBA Playoffs are like a red carpet for Sager, so recently Esquire caught up with him to talk about his style and how it all began. He told them:
“I grew up in Batavia, Illinois, a small town out in the corn fields, west of Chicago. It was boring. For our senior picture, they said, ‘black or navy blazer.’ And I thought, Why do I want to look like everybody else? I was a big fan of The Monkees, and I had this electric blue nehru jacket, like one Micky would wear. So I wore that and showed up and they said, ‘We told you: a blue or black sportcoat.’ I argued that it was actually blue, created a little controversy. But, now, you look at the yearbook and everyone looks exactly the same. Except for me.”
“Somebody came over once and counted my suits, and got up to 135. For this playoff run here, I have no idea how many new ones I’ll buy. It’ll be about 20 games, and I’ll probably buy five or eight, maybe a couple of others. If I’ve worn something before, I’ll change the buttons or wear a different shirt. People say I never wear the same thing twice, but I’m not that egotistical. They just haven’t seen me wear the same thing twice. I try not to wear the same thing through the course of the season, though.”
There are too many highlights from the Q&A to mention them all, but I laughed out loud when Sager said he has a pair of shoes made out of stingray, and that he calls them “The Revenge of Steve Irwin.”
He also relayed the story of the one suit that the producers made him take off. It was at an All-Star Game, and it was a double silk from Versace that just “illuminated” when the cameras hit it. Sager said Stephon Marbury told him it looked like a car reflector shield.
Is Sager’s style cool or just dumb?
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