The death of long-time NBA coach Flip Saunders has saddened the NBA, and you could see that outpouring of grief online Sunday afternoon.
His former players in particularly were saddened by the loss of someone many saw as a mentor. This is just a small fraction of the responses.
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I've been thinking for 30 minutes of what to say but words can't describe how special and important Coach Saunders was to me. I want to thank you coach for giving me the opportunity to play in the NBA and achieve my dream. I know the man above has a special place for you in his kingdom and this world, this league, this family will never be the same. I love you coach and I'm going to miss you so so much.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released this statement:
“The NBA family is mourning today over the tragic loss of our friend and colleague, Flip Saunders. With more than 40 years around the game, 20 of them in the NBA, Flip’s untimely passing has left a gaping hole in the fabric of our league. Flip was a beloved figure around the NBA, nowhere more so than in Minnesota, demonstrating a genuine and consistent passion for his players, his team and the game. On behalf of the NBA, we offer our most sincere condolences to Flip’s wife, Debbie, their four children and the entire Minnesota Timberwolves organization.”
The condolences flowed from people who had not played for him as well.