Sager Strong Award winner, Monty Williams, poses in the press room at the 2017 NBA Awards at Basketball City at Pier 36 on Monday, June 26, 2017, in New York.
Photo: Evan Agostini/AP
Photo: Evan Agostini/AP

NBA honors Monty Williams with first Sager Strong Award

Standing out in the NBA Awards show Monday night was an emotional presentation of the Sager Strong Award.

Monty Williams, a former coach and current Spurs vice president of basketball operations, won the inaugural award for his perseverance through a tragic loss.

Williams’ wife, Ingrid, was killed in a car crash last season while Williams was an assistant coach in Oklahoma City. Williams is the father of five children.

Turner announced Williams as the winner on June 8. The award is named after Turner Sports reporter and long-time Atlanta resident Craig Sager. It will be given annually to “an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace,” according to

The presentation was the highlight of the night. Ernie Johnson introduced Williams while honoring the memories of Ingrid and Sager.

Sager was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in April 2014. He died last December. He was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2016 and will be honored by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this September.