Craig Sager
TNT sports reporter Craig Sager walks on the court following game one of the NBA Western Conference Finals in May 2016 Getty

Long-time NBA reporter Craig Sager has died aged 65.

The legendary character, beloved within the game of basketball and out, was sidelined after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2014.

He made a brief return to the league after his son Craig Sager II donated his bone marrow to save his father's life, but in March 2016 it was announced his leukaemia had returned.

Turner Sports, the network where Sager made his name, alongside CBS and ESPN, confirmed his death on Thursday (15 November).

"Craig Sager was a beloved member of the Turner family for more than three decades and he has been a true inspiration to all of us," Turner president David Levy said in a statement.

"There will never be another Craig Sager. His incredible talent, tireless work ethic and commitment to his craft took him all over the world covering sports.

"While he will be remembered fondly for his colourful attire and the TNT sideline interviews he conducted with NBA coaches and players, it's the determination, grace and will to live he displayed during his battle with cancer that will be his lasting impact.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Craig's wife, Stacy, and the entire Sager family during this difficult time. We will forever be Sager Strong."

Sager's career spanned over 40 years but he was best known for his sideline reporting at NBA games.

He interviewed all the greats of the game including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, however it was his encounters with San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popavic that will be best remembered.

The pair often had tense, terse and awkward interviews, however Sager maintained his charm and child-like smile throughout.

When Sager had to miss the 2014 playoffs, and his son Craig II took the microphone in his place, Popavic said: "You did a great job, but I'd rather have your dad standing here.

"Craig, we miss you, you've been an important part of all of this for a long time doing a great job. We want your fanny back on the court and I promise I'll be nice."

Following his death, there was an outpouring of tributes on Twitter from current and former NBA players. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also paid tribute to Sager in a statement.

He said: "I, along with the entire NBA family, am deeply saddened by the passing of Craig Sager. Craig was as vital to the NBA as the players and coaches. A true original and an essential voice on Turner Sports' NBA coverage for 26 seasons, Craig chronicled some of the most memorable moments in league history and was a ubiquitous presence with his splashy suits and equally colourful personality.

"Craig earned widespread respect for his insightful reporting and inspired so many most recently with his courage. Our hearts go out to his wife, Stacy; his children, Kacy, Craig Jr., Riley and Ryan; and his friends and colleagues."