Saturday, April 24, 2010

Craig Sager keeps you looking

I must admit, Craig Sager has (and does) a great job as sideline reporter on TNT. As skilled as he is in interviewing players and coaches in a tight time frame during games, he will probably be known more for his attire than for his journalistic skills.

That can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the outfit. So far during the 2010 NBA playoffs, I have seen him on TV wearing a salmon-colored jacket and matching flower for one playoff game and an electric-blue jacket, flower tie and pocket square during another playoff game. (The latter is his latest outfit from Saturday's Game 4 between the Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers.) One thing is for sure: Whatever information he gets from his interviews, Mr. Sager's clothing lingers in my short-term memory, long enough to wonder what he's going to wear next.

Now, for the sake of disclosure, I met Mr. Sager during the NBA playoffs three years at A. Taghi in Houston, when the Rockets were in the playoffs. He shook my hand and was really gracious while he was shopping for clothes.

So as I watch him working on television, is there a message that his clothing sends to the television audience? Is it loud? Proud? In your face (or maybe in the faces of his interviewees ... ask Kevin Garnett)? Or just minding his own business?

Well, Mr. Sager's style can work for the average Joe who's not on TV for a living, but in certain environments. The bright colors are great outdoors, especially on boardwalks on the beach if the material is cotton or linen. Indoors, casinos are a great place to sport colorful attire.

I must also admit that when I first saw Mr. Sager on television several years ago, I thought to myself, "I'm revising my will. I wouldn't be caught dead in a casket if someone dressed me that way." However, I was looking through a lens of dressing for a conventional workplace.

Through the lens of entertainment, which is a significant element of sports television, Mr. Sager recognizes clothing that gets your attention. Whether you think you can dress any better than he can misses the point. The question is, are you comfortable wearing clothing that you know will get you noticed? Can you pull it off?

Some memorable outfits come to mind, like Eddie Murphy's leather garb in his standup films "Delirious" and "Raw", and Michael Jackson's sequined white glove in his live performance of "Billie Jean."

I'm not sure I can wear clothing like that while walking down a typical street, but I respect the look for what it is. For Mr. Sager's part, I estimate that I could take one of his sportcoats and make it work for me.

Just one, though.