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World reacts to death of NBA reporter Craig Sager

Associated Press

Saddened reactions to the death of Craig Sager and heartfelt remembrances of the witty, flamboyantly-dressed sports reporter filled social media after he died Thursday at age 65 following a battle with cancer.

There were plenty of outpourings from the world of basketball, of course, where he was best known.

That included those from the ranks of the NBA – from teams such as the Chicago Bulls or Indiana Pacers and individual current and former players such as LeBron James , who called Sager a friend. Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul said Sager was “1 of a kind.”

“Thank you for being you!” Golden State Warriors star and two-time MVP Stephen Curry tweeted. “Brought the best out of everyone you met. (hash)sagerstrong”

Dwyane Wade looks straight into a camera for a video in which he movingly speaks about Sager’s legacy, which “will never be forgotten,” and notes how he “left us with so many stories to tell.” The Philadelphia 76ers posted a video of an ailing Sager interviewing recent Hall of Fame inductee Allen Iverson , who tells the reporter, “I love you, man.”

“Long Live Craig,” Warriors star Kevin Durant tweeted. “We love you! Rest in Paradise.”

Young Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns posted a photo on Instagram of Sager interviewing him after he won the skills competition during All-Star weekend in Toronto last year, and wrote “Words can’t explain how honored, humbled, and excited I was to be interviewed by a legend like you at this moment. The sports world will never be the same without you.”

Former Detroit Pistons “Bad Boy” Dennis Rodman once told Sports Illustrated that Sager tracked him down when Rodman went AWOL in 1993 and talked him out of committing suicide.

“Craig Sager thanks for saving my life when I was in dire need of help in Detroit back in 1993,” Rodman tweeted on Thursday. “Condolences to your family. RIP my friend.”

And there were offerings of condolences from college hoops, too, including reigning NCAA men’s champion Villanova , which accompanied its message with a photo of Sager speaking to Wildcats star Kris Jenkins at this year’s Final Four.

But Sager was known to, and appreciated by, folks from far outside his area of expertise, so tributes came from all over, whether from the World Series champion Chicago Cubs or the Pro Football Hall of Fame , which called him “one of the greatest broadcasters in all of sports.”

Condolences and respect also poured in from the broadcasting world, which held Sager in the highest regard. Rachel Nichols, an ESPN reporter who previously worked with Sager at Turner Sports, gave a touching tribute at the open of her NBA show, “The Jump.”

“I have to tell you, having had so many conversations with him and his family along the way, the way Craig fought this spoke so much to the kind of life that he lived, the kind of values he had and the family he had around him,” Nichols said. “His son was one of his bone marrow donors. His wife, Stacy, who has been incredible by his side. They just celebrated their anniversary yesterday, and I know it was important to Craig to be able to do that.”

One simple indication of the breadth of Sager’s appeal away from the world of sports: Those commenting on Twitter ranged from the likes of Vice President Joe Biden, who wrote that Sager “died as he lived – with courage, passion, perseverance,” to rappers Drake and Lil Wayne, who declared that Sager is “Gone but never forgotten.”

“Rest in peace Craig aka Shiny Suit Man,” Drake posted on Instagram . “Glad I got to talk with you at All Star.”

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