By Tom Bogert
CBS Local Sports
Thanks to Dwight Howard and his charitable D12 Foundation, there will be a blood drive at the Toyota Center before the Houston Rockets’ season finale in honor of NBA on TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager.
Sager, a man endeared by all those around the game of basketball for his warm smile and wonky suit selection, is battling acute myeloid leukemia. He beat the cancer last year and had come back to working the sidelines before the cancer returned. His doctor’s prognosis was a grim one, telling Sager that he likely had less than six months to live if he decided to no longer take treatment.
The blood drive starts at 11 a.m. CT and ends at 7 p.m. before the Rockets tip off against the Sacramento Kings, needing this win to make the playoffs.
Those who attempt to donate blood will receive a #SagerStrong t-shirt with an illustration of Sager and Howard.
“I know a lot of people deal with a lot of different types of cancers and leukemia,” Howard said, via ESPN. “Craig is a close friend of mine, my family. He’s part of the NBA family. You hate to see anybody who is a part of you go through anything. I just want to do whatever I can to help.”
The notion that an NBA star would organize such an event in the name of Sager is as touching as it is unsurprising. Kind words have been poured onto Sager since the news of his cancer resurfacing, as well as the basketball world unanimously and emphatically supporting Sager in his courageous fight.
Sager vows to be a medical anomaly and fight to live as long as he can. Howard just wants to help however he can in the universal battle against cancer.
“I’ve lost family members, [and] one of my closest friends is battling breast cancer right now,” Howard said. “Just a lot of different things going on that I just try to find ways to help.”
As a fan of repetitive disappointment and frustration, Tom holds Liverpool FC, the New York Knicks and New York Red Bulls near and dear to his heart with occasional joy coming from the New York Giants and New York Yankees.