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Flip SaundersMinnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, 60, died Sunday, October 25, 2015 after a battle with cancer. Saunders was a head coach in the NBA for 17 seasons and had a 654-592 record. In August, Saunders announced that he was being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma and stated that the doctors believed that it was very treatable and curable. However, in September Saunders announced that he would miss the entire 2015-16 season due to the diagnosis and treatment. Saunders became an NBA head coach in 1996 with the Timberwolves and led the team to eight straight playoff appearances. He was known for having a specialty and gift for coaching point guards.

In a statement NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed his sincere condolences to Saunders’ family and said, “…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.”

Players throughout the league turned to social media to express their sadness and provide condolences to the Saunders family. Kevin Garnett, posted the message “forever in my heart…”Garnett was one of the players who was impacted greatly by Saunders and was developed into one of the best players in the NBA and eventually into MVP.

According to the NBA officials, coaches will wear a lapel pin this season to honor the memory of Saunders. Players union executive director Michele Roberts said in a statement, “He was not only a well-liked and well-respected coach. He was also a mentor and friend to so many of our players. His impact on our players, the game and his community is profound, and we will miss him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Saunders family and the entire basketball fraternity, as we mourn this loss.”

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