Ailing sportscaster Craig Sager invited to work his first NBA Finals

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Craig Sager, broadcaster for NBA TV, interviews LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers after a win against the Atlanta Hawks on December 29, 2009 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Craig Sager, broadcaster for NBA TV, interviews LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers after a win against the Atlanta Hawks on December 29, 2009 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Ailing sportscaster Craig Sager has been a fixture on sidelines of NBA games, but he has never worked on the league’s biggest stage.

That will change on Thursday, when Sager joins ABC’s broadcast of game six of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Sager, 64, continued to work for TNT during this year’s NBA playoffs while receiving treatment for leukemia. The veteran sideline reporter, who was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2014, said in March that the cancer was no longer in remission.

“I’ve been watching the series very closely and, while I do not want to distract in any way from the event itself, I look forward to being in the building for what will be an incredibly exciting Game 6,” Sager said in a statement on Wednesday.

With his signature flamboyant suits and good-natured interviews between timeouts, Sager has become one of the most beloved figures in the NBA.

But because he’s worked more than 30 years for Turner Sports, Sager has never worked the climactic championship series. The Turner-owned TNT broadcasts the playoffs through the conference finals, but the NBA Finals have been on ABC since 2003. For more than a decade before that, the series aired on NBC.

At Thursday’s game in Cleveland, where the Warriors could clinch their second-consecutive NBA title, Sager will join a crew that works games on ESPN and ABC.

He will share sideline reporting duties with Doris Burke, who said in a video message to Sager that it was an “honor.”

It will not be the last time the ESPN family pays tribute to Sager. Next month, he will receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPY Awards.