MURRELL COLUMN: Wise man: Time is simply how we live life

Published 3:32 pm Thursday, December 15, 2016

They say deaths come in threes.

I say they come too often to the ones we love, even if we didn’t know them personally.

These days, you can find out anywhere who left us. Tuesday night, entering my car from the West Brook-Nederland basketball thriller, I found out Alan Thicke passed away of a heart attack after partaking in his country’s pastime, hockey.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Immediately, my mind went to Craig Sager.

Deaths like those of John Glenn last Thursday, Thicke’s on Tuesday and Sager’s on Thursday just blow us away. (Sager battled acute myeloid leukemia for two years.) There’s no way to prepare and no way to know when God is going to call someone up.

That makes the days that you haven’t heard about someone’s condition unsettling, but it’s only human.

I went through this two holiday seasons ago. I wanted some alert to come through my phone that somehow Stuart Scott dug deep in the proverbial fourth quarter and, for a third time, beat cancer.

His persona was cool as the other side of the pillow and encouraged me to recognize my coolness, but his fight — oh, man — was indescribable. We didn’t have to see it to know.

The wait between Scott’s final TV appearance and the Jan. 4, 2015, news I woke up to that he left us reminded me of the unpredictability of life as we get older.

Sager, 65, for his part, stayed young, as Scott, 49, did. They wouldn’t have it (or at least let us see it) any other way.

Sager was a superhero in the league of extraordinary gentlemen, always coming through to entertain us and rock the world with his amazing suits. Sager was the coolest superhero of all because he wasn’t defined by just one outfit.

His uniqueness was his symbol, his brand. Nobody can copy that, because it won’t be unique anymore.

His style made you forget about the professionalism a journalist has to demonstrate. Only he could blend the two qualities together the way he did.

Ted Turner has to be a proud man for the way Sager represented himself: A key figure in the burgeoning media hub called Atlanta, Ga. Sager played his role in a world of key players, where Marv Albert is the distinctive voice, Reggie Miller is the calming analyst, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal bring the banter, and Ernie Johnson makes sense of it all. Ne’er a sitcom has been more entertaining.

This is the league of extraordinary gentlemen that I’m talking about. The league that is the NBA has embraced it, and so has its loyal followers, including this Memphis Grizzlies fan.

I choose not to think that the light Sager shone, just like Batman’s searchlight, has dimmed. It carries on, not necessarily in our dress but in the way we approach time.

Time, a wise man once said, is simply how you live your life. Sager was that wise man.

No matter how I think my life is going, I can lay my head down on that cool pillow knowing it has been a lot more pleasant because of Craig.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or at On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.