As you may have heard by now, NBA legend Flip Saunders has sadly lost his fight against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and passed away at the age of 60. Saunders, who is 20th on the all-time wins list with 654, made an impact to the game in multiple ways, and his kind spirit will be genuinely missed by many. A myriad of former and current players and coaches have already come out with emotional messages via social media and interviews. Most notably, Saunders’ longtime player, Kevin Garnett posted a passionate picture on Facebook of him sitting in his coaches’ parking spot.
Many people who knew Flip saw him as a lighthearted man who always kept the mood light, even in the face of turmoil and adversity. It’s difficult to find people who have anything bad to say about the former coach. Saunders’ character is so strong it outshines his incredible coaching acumen that led an improbable Minnesota Timberwolves team to a Conference Finals appearance in 2004. He also coached the Detroit Pistons to three straight Conference Finals from ’06 to ’08.
As we enjoy NBA opening night, it is important that we keep that late, great Flip Saunders and his legacy in mind. He knew how to make the rigorous and grueling 82 game NBA season truly fun for everyone involved. Hopefully he will be watching the league he gave so much to tonight from a better place.