Flip Saunders untimely succumbed to cancer last Sunday at the age of 60.
In a report from Yahoo! Sports, the president of the basketball operations and head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves was undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the past month. It was weighed upon by his physicians as “very treatable and curable” during his diagnosis last June.
Saunders, whose coaching stint spanned 17 seasons (three with the Detroit Pistons, three with Washington Wizards), 10 of which wherein in Minnesota including his homecoming last season, even managed to assist with the team’s draft and free agency in the course of the first two months of his affliction.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor in a fervent statement said: ”Flip was a symbol of strength, compassion, and dignity for our organization. He was a shining example of what a true leader should be, defined by his integrity and kindness to all he encountered.”
A distraught Kevin Garnett, who returned to the Timberwolves camp last season after Saunders was given the leash again, emotionally gave a photo tribute to his long-time coach as mentioned in Uproxx.
The 38-year-old power forward could be seen sitting by his lonesome in Saunders’ parking space of the Timberwolves’ practice facility which he posted in social media captioned with “Forever in my heart…”.
Both Saunders and Garnett were in their rookie year in the 1995-1996 season of the NBA. The former’s tutelage with the 6’11 high school prodigy immediately made a great impact as a then-woeful Timberwolves brought about eight consecutive playoff appearances starting the following season.
Heartfelt condolences poured-out from Saunder’s extended NBA family with players posting their sympathies on social media as cited by Bleacher Report.
Lebron James said via Twitter:
“My condolences to the Saunders and @Timberwolves family! Lost a great person in our fraternity way to early. So sad #RIPFlip”
Former Wolves forward Thaddeus Young shared a picture of him and Coach Saunders during his 2014-2015 stint captioned with:
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Coach Flip. My condolences to his family and loved ones. #RIPFLIP”.
Details about Saunders’ vigil had not been passed along as of the moment.
Photo Source:Facebook/Minnesota Timberwolves