In the 10 months since he died of cancer in December, Craig Sager’s legacy has lived on in conversations.
His daughter Kacy has had them on social media. She’s had them at ceremonies she’s attended with her family in her father’s absence. Craig, the longtime NBA broadcaster who became known for outrageous suits and analytical courtside interviews, inspired more than his fair share of anecdotes, most of them bordering on outrageous.
Kacy has heard so many stories in the last year it’s hard to remember them all.
“I don’t know if he was a magnet for them or if it was just that he was there (at the right time),” she told The Star.
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One of the stories resurfaced Monday, when she received an unexpected package with a Kansas City postmark at her home in the Atlanta area, where she was raised.
A powder blue Royals jersey lay within. It was emblazoned with the name Sager and Ernie Banks’ number 14, in honor of her father’s idol. Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas had signed it.
It was a reminder of the vast network her father built, which included the package’s sender, Royals vice president of communications Mike Swanson.
Craig met Swanson when he covered the Royals during his stint at KMBC Channel 9 from 1978-81. The two became roommates, Kacy said, and remained close after Craig moved on to a decades-long career at Turner Sports.
So close that after she was born in 1986, Kacy spent enough time around the Royals to be thought of as a good luck charm. Kacy said her mother, Lisa, who is from the Kansas City area, would hand her baby daughter to a player in the Kauffman Stadium dugout, then watch as the others passed her around.
“They would hold me before games for luck and George Brett told my parents to bring me to all the games because they never lost when I was there,” Kacy said. “He called it ‘The Kacy Factor.’”
The Royals won 13 straight in the presence of Kacy, who was named in tribute to Kansas City’s World Series championship in 1985.
As the first NBA season without Craig approached, Swanson wanted the Sagers to know they were on his mind. Swanson remembered to mail the jersey to Kacy when he underwent knee surgery after the Royals’ season ended, she said.
“He, personally, attributed (the procedure) to all the pickup basketball games they played,” Kacy said. “I told him it didn’t surprise me since dad was dunking on me in grade school.”