“He was a way better person than he was a worker…the most amazing part of him was his courage.”
Gregg Popovich, the head basketball coach of the San Antonio Spurs, is known for his gruff style when it comes to media interviews. Yet, Popovich’s heartfelt comments when speaking about the recent death of TNT reporter Craig Sager from leukemia made it clear that intimacy and respect defined their relationship.
End of the year holiday wishes are often a syrupy affair. Let’s be honest about, OK? People you don’t really know or vendors primarily interested in your budget send along a generic note, card or Email expressing hope and prosperity for the coming year. If you’re super duper lucky you may get some chocolate or a fruit basket.
Popovich’s reaction to Sager’s passing, along with the tributes from colleagues and others in the sports industry got me thinking about why this individual had such a meaningful impact on so many. Here is what I have concluded:
Impact #1: Be genuine in how you treat others, even when it is something they don’t want to hear. Last week I got fired by a client who I’ve supported for a decade due to budget pressures. Candidly, our personal relationship has been strained. Yet, she picked up the phone and called me, rather than taking the easy route by shooting out an Email. It was genuine!
Impact #2: Whatever it is that you do, do it with style; regardless of what some may think. Sager was as known for his colorful attire, as for his professional accomplishments. Some mocked him for his wardrobe believing it devalued the contribution of serious sports journalists. Yet, Sager stuck to his belief that his uniqueness allowed him to foster closer relationships.
This leads me to the most important take-away from Sager’s life and career…
Impact #3: Life is all about relationships…with family, friends, colleagues and clients. When you have that then everything that comes your way is so much better.