The role of sideline reporter is not the most critical to a sports broadcast. A lot of times people at home look at people on TV and say, “I could do that.” But amidst a sea of generic questions and faceless reporters, one man stands out.
Craig Sager made a name for himself wearing some of the loudest and most garish suit, shirt, and tie combinations known to man. Sager jousts with NBA coaches (most notably the Spurs’ Greg Poppovich) in colors and prints that have no reason for existing, let alone being worn together. But somehow Sager makes it work. So when Sager, who is battling Leukemia, designed a NikeiD sneaker to benefit his Sagerstrong Foundation, there wasn’t a chance in hell that they would be understated.
The limited edition NikeiD Air Force 1 are an amalgam of color. The left and right shoes are different, which creates the opportunity to add even more color. Each shoe’s upper is adorned in a different paisley print, and Nike’s famous Safari print is on the heel tab. The aqua blue on the Swoosh and toe box of the right shoe is a nod to Sager’s time in Florida, while the purple in the same locations on the left shoe is an homage to Sager’s alma mater, Northwestern, where he was the school’s mascot. The seersucker print on the tongue tab is a reference to a suit Sager wore on an early audition tape that helped land him a job as a weatherman.
Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014. He received a bone marrow transplant from his son that helped the disease go into remission but it returned earlier this year and Sager has since had bone marrow surgery. The Golden State Warriors and TNT plan to honor Sager at the start of their season-opening game tonight.
Only 100 pairs of the NikeiD Air Force 1s have been made. They will be auctioned off through Bleacher Report with biding opening at 7 PM ET on October 25 and running through November 4. The shoes will then be custom made in the winners’ sizes.