When Craig Sager was sent to the hospital to undergo a third bone marrow transplant, he was visited by surprising company: Fellow NBA on TNT employee Charles Barkley.
Barkley's presence wasn't a huge surprise on its own, but it was impressive given the circumstances: The former NBA great had just undergone surgery himself, and was under strict orders from his doctor not to travel.
But Barkley couldn't help himself when he found out Sager’s situation. While the colorful sideline commentator was receiving his third transplant, he had to do so without the support of his wife, Stacy. Stacy had become very ill in the past few days, and her sickness posed a threat to Sager in his weakened state.
Despite the stakes of his procedure, Stacy was ordered to stay away from him. That wasn't okay with Barkley, who didn't want his friend to have to go through the procedure alone.
So he flew to Houston to keep Sager company.
Have to thank Barkley for keeping my Dad company today in Houston as he finished his final prep work & for being there every step.
— Craig Sager II (@CraigSagerJr) August 31, 2016
— Craig Sager II (@CraigSagerJr) September 1, 2016
Charles Barkley defied doctor's orders to visit friend Craig Sager in the hospital after 3rd bone marrow transplant. pic.twitter.com/wnTtHaWHDj
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 1, 2016
Later, Barkley explained to the Associated Press why he couldn't stay home and respect his doctor's wishes.
"Craig Sager is one of the most interesting people I've ever met," Barkley said, who also said his doctor was furious to learn he had gone against orders. "We go to see Sager to cheer him up and by the time you leave you're like, 'Is anything wrong with him?' He has the most positive attitude ... When you go to try and cheer him up his attitude is so upbeat he cheers you up."