RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Last night in the NBA semifinals, the Oklahoma City Thunder outlasted the San Antonio Spurs to even up the series at 2 and2. Thunder star Kevin Durant's fourth-quarter heroics were a spectacle to be sure, but just as show stopping was the man patrolling the sidelines in a pearly white jacket, blue shirt and fire-truck red pants. That would be Craig Sager, TNT's go-to sideline reporter for the NBA. He's been wearing outfits like these for decades and not everybody loves them.
KEVIN GARNETT: Tonight, I'm stressing to you, you take this outfit home and you burn it.
MARTIN: That was Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics after the 2009 All-Star Game. Craig Sager wardrobe isn't just a subject of controversy, though, it can be a technical problem as it was in the 2001 All-Star Game.
CRAIG SAGER: Because it was a double-silk Versace, it was black and silver. And it illuminated, and they said it looked like the sunscreen you put in the dashboard of your car in the summer to reflect the sun.
MARTIN: Can you describe your style?
SAGER: Well, let's see. I'm looking right here. I've got a pair of black alligator shoes. They actually have the eyeballs in them. I've got another pair next to them, these are crocodile. Then I've got a pair of ostrich. I don't know. It's just something in my personality. I just like lively colors.
MARTIN: Do you often get reactions from players, coaches, fans?
SAGER: Ah, yes. Lots from the fans. I like to wear bright colors. It helps out to spot me in the audience when my camera guys are looking for me to do interviews. But you have to be careful, especially with the home fans because they're so passionate about their team. And earlier in the series I was in San Antonio, and I had on this blue coat that I thought was gorgeous. I'd just gotten it. And all these fans were saying, man, you're wearing Thunder colors. You're wearing Thunder colors.
I said I'm not wearing Thunder colors. This is a sky blue. They're more of a deep blue. But they were like, no, you got to wear black and silver.
MARTIN: You just have a more sophisticated color palate.
SAGER: Yeah, that's true. But, you know, we have fun with it. Some people maybe think it's too outlandish, but I have fun. I buy it all myself. I pick it all out myself. I once in a while get some help from my 7-year-old daughter. Some people might not like it, my 7-year-old, she likes it.
MARTIN: And lastly, what will you be wearing tomorrow night?
SAGER: Let's see. If I go in my closet right now, ha, since you put me on the spot, I will wear this pink, black and yellow checked coat, with a pink, white and black diamond tie, with a pink shirt, black pants and those crocodile shoes with the eyeballs.
MARTIN: Wow. That is a reason, ladies and gentlemen, to tune into Game 5.
SAGER: That will stand out in San Antonio.
MARTIN: Craig Sager is a sideline reporter for the NBA on TNT. He'll be reporting from tomorrow night's Game 5 between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Craig, thanks so much, really appreciate it.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MARTIN: This is NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.