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ESPYS to honor TNT's Craig Sager with Jimmy V award

Turner Sports reporter Craig Sager has been selected to receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPY Awards in July.

Sager, a 34-year Turner veteran and popular TNT sideline reporter known for wearing flashy suits, has continued to work as he battles a recurrence of the leukemia he's been battling for the last few years.

"When I was diagnosed with cancer, like so many other people, my life changed forever," Sager said in a statement Monday. "Over the last two years, I've done everything in my power to live my life as normally as possible. But at times, you need support and I'm so thankful to everyone who has been there for me."

Sager will be presented with the award at the 24th annual ESPYs, which will air live on ABC on July 13 from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

"One of those pieces of inspiration has come from Jim Valvano himself," Sager said of the late NC State basketball coach, who inspired millions with his courageous battle against cancer in 1993. "I have his [ESPYs] speech saved on my phone and, now 23 years later, its impact lives on with me and countless others. There is no greater honor than receiving this award and I am very humbled."

The 64-year-old Sager missed 11 months while undergoing treatment for leukemia and a bone marrow transplant from his son before returning to his position on the sideline during TNT's NBA coverage in March 2015. But he revealed in an interview with HBO in April that his cancer was no longer in remission.

Sager also said he is in "unchartered waters" and must keep his strength up. He added he has already undergone two stem cell transplants and it's very rare that someone would have a third, so he said he has to keep his strength up and spirits undeterred despite the latest challenge in his cancer fight.

"Craig's positive attitude and passion have always been cornerstones of the coverage he does for TNT and those attributes are a large part of what endears him to fans," Maura Mandt, executive producer of the ESPYS, said in a statement. "He serves as an inspiration to many as he continues his work while battling this devastating disease."

The Jimmy V Award is given to someone in sports who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination. It is named for Valvano, the NCAA-winning coach who gave an emotional acceptance speech at the 1993 ESPYS that included his famous words "Don't Give Up ... Don't Ever Give Up!" He died of cancer later that year.