Episode 2.20: Kacy Sager: Dad, Craig, “Always Referred to (NBA All-Star Weekend) as His Christmas”

February 17, 2017
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With NBA All-Star Weekend upon us and her dad, Craig, slated to be inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame Friday, Kacy Sager joins the podcast. In addition to sharing some special anecdotes about her legendary father, a man who adored the annual All-Star festivities, Kacy describes her love for Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game, gives her pick for league MVP and provides insight into the wild Eastern Conference landscape and Atlanta’s handling of Paul Millsap, among other topics. Kacy, who serves as a contributor for Basketball Breakdown and a member of Turner Sports’ stat team, is honest and entertaining as ever. Here’s a select sample of what she has to say:

5:01-6:35: Kacy’s all-time favorite NBA player is a precocious 22-year-old named Giannis Antetokounmpo:

“As much as I’ve always known that he was going to end up being a really, really big player, I didn’t even expect it to happen this year. I thought it was going to happen next year. So it’s really cool to see him already taking that big of a leap, and he still has so much potential. He’s doing things out there that shouldn’t physically be possible… Some of it is so mundane at this point, which I feel horrible saying. I feel like we’re going to start taking him for granted at some point. It was fun to watch him during the shootaround before the game though, just shimmying and dancing out there. He always has the hugest grin on his face, and it’s so cool to know that he just so frickin’ excited to be an All-Star. And I’m so excited for him. I cried. I legitimately shed a tear.”

12:50-13:43: Her father, Craig, will be tremendously missed this weekend in New Orleans. He covered every NBA All-Star game between 1988 and 2014, as well as the 2016 festivities. It was “his Christmas,” as she explains:

“He just always referred to it as his Christmas. He has in his basement a basketball signed by all of the different winners and the MVP from every year of the All-Star game. I don’t know how he did it. I know it says on your credential pass you’re not supposed to get autographs, but apparently, that doesn’t apply to him. It’s going to be really weird without him there. They flew my step-mother and half-siblings down there again for this year, so they’ll be doing that again. I think Foot Locker’s doing something to honor my dad… I know he wore that ridiculous silver suit, the aluminum foil-looking thing and he walked around the court in it, and around halftime of the game they ended up calling him and telling him he had to change because it was messing with all the cameras because it was so reflective.”

14:27-15:07: Kacy sheds light on the always memorable exchanges between Craig and infamously-terse-with-reporters Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich while offering a glimpse into her dad’s psyche:

“A big part of who my dad was, he always liked to be the 'good guy.' I mentioned it in my eulogy. We’d be playing a game of basketball when I was like 5 years old – he never let me win at anything – and he would be dunking on me and he’d be like, ‘Another basket for the Good Guys.’ He was always the “Good Guys.’  And I think that it was really cool for Popovich to feel so comfortable almost playing like the villain to his protagonist… it’s so funny to me that people actually thought that Popovich was being a jackass to him. He’s such a good man.”

18:43-20:10: Our guest opines on why, despite the injury concerns, the Cavaliers are still kings of the East:

“I had the Celtics finishing second in the East preseason. To me, they kind of remind me a little bit of where the Hawks were a couple years ago, though. I think they just seemed like a team that was going to win a lot of games just because they’re well coached and [they have] a lot of overachieving guys who play really well together and know their roles, but I don’t know how well that’s going to translate to playoff success… In the East, you have to get through LeBron. You have to have size. You have to have a decent frontcourt. That’s why I’m a little surprised that Washington has been doing this well. I don’t know how sustainable that is. I didn’t think that the Raptors did enough to improve their frontcourt to be in a better position to beat the Cavs than they were the year before, so I don’t know if that [the Serge Ibaka acquisition] fixes it. It’ll be interesting to see how he works in there. I know he’s not the same player that he was a few years ago.”

26:05-26:40: Kacy also tackles the Paul Millsap trade rumor issue. What’s the deal?

“I don’t think that he’s taking this as personally as people are maybe thinking he is, because he’s the most professional guy ever and it made sense to at least see what they could get for him during the offseason. It made so much sense. I didn’t think there was any chance they weren’t going to at least entertain some trade offers this year, especially after Horford walks. The fanbase would have retaliated if they hadn’t at least tried to move him and risked having both of them walk two years in a row. But at the same time, I didn’t think they were going to move him unless they got a really good offer for him. I think he wants to stay. I don’t think he’s butt-hurt about all the trade rumors. I think he gets it.”

Music: "Who Likes to Party" by Kevin Macleod

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