Flip Saunders Night Showed How Many Lives Were Touched by a Great Human

Karl-Anthony Towns (second from left) and Tyus Jones share a light moment with head coach Flip Saunders during a news conference in 2015. JIM GEHRZ • james.gehrz@startribune.com / Minneapolis, MN / June 26, 2015 / 11:00 AM

Karl-Anthony Towns (second from left) and Tyus Jones share a light moment with head coach Flip Saunders during a news conference in 2015. JIM GEHRZ • james.gehrz@startribune.com / Minneapolis, MN / June 26, 2015 / 11:00 AM



On Thursday night, the Timberwolves organization honored the late Flip Saunders. As for how the franchise acknowledged their beloved coach and executive, that was accomplished in a plethora of ways.

Despite Taj Gibson’s career high 28 points during Minnesota’s come from behind victory, the game itself took a back seat to all of the events surrounding the highly anticipated Flip Saunders Night.

The franchise worked closely with Flip’s family to ensure the evening had a focus on increasing awareness and raising funds for the “Flip Saunders Legacy Fund.” The fund, which was created within weeks of Flip’s passing, is “solely devoted to aiding and supporting deserving individuals or groups and continue the positive impact of the life of coach Flip Saunders.

I’m sure the team and Saunders family drummed up a lot of cash for the Wolves’ former coach and Maroon and Gold Alum (also was assistant coach at the U from 1981-86). My personal favorite fundraiser was an easy choice. Like Michael Jordan and Spike Lee taught us, it’s gotta be the shoes:

In regards to my favorite aspect of the evening itself, I’d have to go with the banner. However, if I was at the game itself, my opinion might be different. Despite not being a big art person, the painting halftime show seemed electric. On top of that, the commemorative coins that everyone in attendance received are the classiest (just like Flip):

With the above toast to Saunders in their possession prior to tip, the Target Center crowd witnessed, among other things, the raising of the banner and some speeches from family and organization members.

But it was Flip’s wife, Debbie, that moistened everyone’s eyes: With her son Ryan (Wolves assistant coach) and others by her side, the widow of the basketball legend, addressed the crowd:

Another person who spoke was Karl-Anthony Towns. KAT, who helped spearhead the previously mentioned custom shoes, spoke about Flip’s impact on not only the Wolves, but the entire state of Minnesota.

Naturally, with most of the Flip-related events happening during pregame, the current Wolves roster was in attendance. In addition, many former Saunders-coached players were at Target Center for Flip Saunders Night. Despite many fans’ disappointment that KG wasn’t one of them, it was good to see Sam Cassell, Chauncy Billups, and others.

Among those others, was Latrell Sprewell. Nice! I assume he lives in a different state, and we all know he has a family to feed, so you know it’s important Latrell finds a way to make the trip back to MN.

Johnny Minnesota @TheJohnnyMN
Minnesota Sports Fan MinnesotaSportsFan.com