Proprio ieri riportavamo le parole del proprietario dei Minnesota Timberwolves, Glen Taylor, il quale annunciava che Flip Saunders sarebbe rimasto a riposo per combattere il cancro, per tutta la stagione alle porte. Solo poche ore dopo è arrivata la notizia che ha fatto raggelare il sangue ai tifosi dei T-Wolves e a tutto il mondo NBA: Phil “Flip” Saunders se n’è andato per sempre.
Raccogliamo in questa pagina le reazioni più significative in seguito alla morte di Saunders e gli omaggi che amici, conoscenti e colleghi hanno voluto esprimere.
Adam Silver, commissioner NBA:
“La famiglia NBA piange la tragica perdita del nostro amico e collega, Flip Saunders. Dopo oltre 40 anni di vita nella pallacanestro, di cui 20 in NBA, l’ultimo viaggio di Flip lascia un grande vuoto nella nostra lega.
Flip era una figura amata nel giro della NBA, mai quanto in Minnesota, avendo dimostrato una passione genuina e vera nei confronti dei propri giocatori, della squadra e del gioco. Come portavoce della NBA, offriamo le nostre più sincere condoglianze alla moglie di Flip, Debbie, i loro quattro figli e l’intera organizzazione dei Minnesota Timberwolves.”
Emblematica la foto postata su Facebook da Kevin Garnett, del quale Saunders era certamente l’allenatore prediletto, corredata dalla frase “per sempre nel mio cuore“.
Altri giocatori (o ex) dei Timberwolves, ma non solo, hanno espresso tramite i vari social l’accorato saluto al Coach.
My heart and all of my love goes out to Flip Saunders Family as your leader leaves this earth in the flesh. His spirit lives in the present as we speak. In 1996 Flip became a father figure and my first #NBA coach. Wow how fast time blows by. Our conversations were so meaningful in ways that helped me understand the game of life by explaining the game of basketball. Your kind soul and loving ways helped me understand how to play the most important position in the sport of basketball. You gave me not only the chance to perform at a high level but a chance to communicate my thoughts on the game. You taught me how to play the pick and roll but you also taught me how to pick up and roll with the good and bad in the life. As a rookie we had so many conversations in such a short time period. You said “The point guard has to be the extension to the coach” These words lived inside of me as I’ve had my share of ups and downs with coaches. I guess when I left you I went on a journey to end up with a similar coach 7,000 miles away. I thank you for giving me my foundation in how to play the professional way. I thank you for giving me unconditional love as if I was your son when I was so young. It was so needed as KG and I needed all of it to get where we are now. What an impact you’ve had on so many humans on earth. What a father you’ve been to your children as I can remember Ryan aka RyeKnow when he was a little boy. We will miss you as a piece of your children’s hearts have been taken but we will celebrate you forever. Thank God that love is the most powerful thing to give and receive. The love from all will be shared to help the healing process from the pain of your flesh not being present. I know you will RIP because you did all of what you did on earth in your lifeline. I say #FlipForever as we all grow from your teachings and messages. I LOVE YOU and I’ll miss you until we meet again. #LoveisLove P.S As for your amazing Wife Debbie and girls Mindy, Rachel, and Kimberly thank you for sharing your dad with all the people who’s lives your dad touched. I can feel your pain because I know your love for your dad. I pray for peace in your heart.
Today, the guy who believed in me since day 1 passed away. He was all smiles passionate and really loved this game. He gave everything to the Timberwolves and did amazing things for us. He was our leader. Really gonna miss you coach. RestInPeace Flip. Una foto pubblicata da Ricky Rubio (@ruuufio) in data: 25 Ott 2015 alle ore 12:06 PDT
Truly saddened to hear that Flip Saunders has passed away. My heart and prayers go to the Saunders family and the T-Wolves organization..
— Anthony Bennett (@AnthonyBennett) 25 Ottobre 2015
To lose someone that meant so much to me and my is a life altering moment. The pain I’m feeling right now is very deep but I am sure you ll continue to look after us as always. Thank you Flip for believing in me and giving me a chance. I am forever grateful. RIP coach. G. Una foto pubblicata da Gorgui Dieng (@gorguidieng) in data: 25 Ott 2015 alle ore 13:28 PDT
— LeBron James (@KingJames) 25 Ottobre 2015