Craig Sager to be honored with Jimmy V Perseverance Award at 2016 ESPYS

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Image of Craig Sager
In this March 5, 2015, file photo, Craig Sager acknowledges the crowd during a timeout in an NBA basketball game between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder in Chicago.
David Banks, File/AP-AP

Known for his flamboyant suits and fun-loving personality, Craig Sager is one of the most beloved sideline reporters in sports. Sager's life was changed forever in 2014 when he was diagnosed with leukemia, but the veteran reporter still went to work on the sidelines while publicly battling the disease. To honor Sager's courage, ESPN will present him with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2016 ESPYS.

"When I was diagnosed with cancer, like so many other people, my life changed forever," said Sager. "Over the last two years, I've done everything in my power to live my life as normally as possible. But at times, you need support and I'm so thankful to everyone who has been there for me."

One of those sources of inspiration has been coach Jim Valvano, the legendary basketball coach who delivered a powerful, resonating and inspirational speech at the 1993 ESPYS weeks before passing away from bone cancer.

"I have his speech saved on my phone and now, 23 years later, its impact lives on with me and countless others," said Sager. "There is no greater honor than receiving this award and I am very humbled."

Originally from Batavia, Ill., Sager got his start in sports while serving as the Willie the Wildcat mascot for Northwestern University's football and basketball teams. He began his broadcasting career in 1972 and blossomed into one of sports' most beloved and colorful voices.

"Craig is a star that has always shined a bit brighter than others," said Connor Schell, senior vice president, ESPN Films and Original Content. "His dedication to continuing the career he loves in spite of this difficult illness is the very definition of perseverance and we're proud to honor Craig at this year's ESPYS."

Watch the 2016 ESPY Awards hosted by John Cena on Wednesday, July 13 at 8 p.m. ET | 7 p.m. CT on ABC.

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