Across the NBA over the past 24 hours, teams have held moments of silence before their season openers in honor of the late Flip Saunders. The Los Angeles Lakers, though, went a step further.
Kobe Bryant and company open 2015-16 at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who lost their leader to complications of Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Sunday. The franchises share a kinship of sorts due to the Lakers’ Minnesota roots. Before moving to Los Angeles in 1960, the purple and gold called Minneapolis home for their first 13 seasons – hence the iconic name that’s stuck despite the team’s departure for Southern California.
Los Angeles is remembering Saunders on Tuesday night by wearing shooting shirts reading “FLIP.” Below the beloved coach’s well-known moniker sits a basketball featuring the state of Minnesota, between the Lakers’ original M.P.L.S. logo and their name in the franchise’s classic font.
Just as classy and thoughtful as Los Angeles’ warmups were the words that Byron Scott shared on Saunders hours before Tuesday’s game.
This sentiment, of course, is one shared by anyone lucky enough to interact with Flip throughout his nearly 20 years as a coach and executive. In a league replete with good guys, the Timberwolves’ icon was truly one of the best.
R.I.P, Flip! Thoughts of the Lakers, the league and its fans will be with you and your family all season long.