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Craig Sager Says He Talked Dennis Rodman Out of Suicide in 1993

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIApril 27, 2016

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 27:  TNT reporter Craig Sager is seen on the sidelines during the NBA season opener between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans at ORACLE Arena on October 27, 2015 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager has impacted many during his long career, including Dennis Rodman, who Sager said he helped to reconsider thoughts of suicide.   

In an extensive interview with Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins that ran Tuesday, Sager explained how he found Rodman at a Detroit strip club called The Landing Strip in 1993 and talked him out of taking his own life.

"He had the gun. He was going to do it. I told him how stupid that would be," said Sager, per Jenkins.

Rodman was playing for the Detroit Pistons at the time and was dealing with the aftermath of his failed marriage to Annie Bakes and contemplated suicide. Rodman, now 54, wrote about a time he felt suicidal in his 1996 autobiography, Bad as I Wanna Be (h/t the Washington Post). It appears the account in the book is from a separate time than the one Sager described. 

After winning two NBA championships as a member of the Bad Boy-era Detroit Pistons, Rodman was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in October 1993, six months after the events of his autobiography. He played in Texas for two seasons before being traded to the Chicago Bulls and winning three more titles.

In an interview with HBO's Real Sports that aired in March, Sager, 64, revealed his acute myeloid leukemia was no longer in remission and that doctors told him he had three to six months to live. 

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Sager was initially diagnosed with the disease in April 2014 but has continued to cover the NBA intermittently.

"I'm going to make medical history," Sager said on HBO, per Ben Golliver of SI.com. "... I'm fighting this thing to the end. I have too much to do."

Since announcing his initial diagnosis, Sager has received an outpouring of support from the sports community. According to Jenkins, "Sager writes the names and numbers of everyone who calls him on three-by-five index cards. He walks around with a stack. Rodman calls all the time." 

Perhaps he's returning the favor 23 years later. 

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