Timberwolves and Fans Pay Homage to Flip Saunders with Memorial Wall
In case you haven't made it up to the Target Center this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have shown the ultimate respect to former coach Flip Saunders...
Philip "Flip" Saunders wasn't born here in Minnesota, but that doesn't mean we didn't call him one of our own. He was beloved by all, and that includes the organization that gave him his first shot at a head coaching position in the NBA.
"Flip was a symbol of strength, compassion, and dignity for our organization," owner Glen Taylor said in a statement shortly after Flip's passing back in October. "He was a shining example of what a true leader should be, defined by his integrity and kindness to all he encountered."
Saunders was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in June of last year, and at the time doctors called it "treatable and curable." But he later took a leave of absence from the team in September after complications arose during his treatment, which included chemotherapy. He later died the following month at the young age of 60.
Much like the rest of the state, I was both shocked and saddened by the news that we'd lost Flip. He lived and breathed Minnesota basketball, and he loved the Wolves organization with all his heart... which is probably why the team built a Memorial Wall to honor him just outside the Target Center.
Just beyond the skyway connecting the brand new Mayo Clinic Facility and Target Center the team has set up a fan-friendly tribute wall to Saunders, complete with markers for fans to leave their memories and well wishes.
John Focke, who's the Executive Producer and Studio Host for the Timberwolves Radio Network, had this to say about the Memorial Wall: "It was a really touching addition to the Mayo Clinic Square this fall after the passing of Flip Saunders, a wall dedicated to his memory on the skyway level with an area for fans to share their memories of Flip, as well. Sometimes, I will stop by there and read the memories and condolences written there, as it's really amazing to see how many lives Flip touched over the years."
Having finally seeing it for myself in-person, it was really something to appreciate up-close. As you can see from the pictures, the giant wall is constantly filled up from people showing their appreciation for a man who was born in Cleveland, but died a true Minnesotan. If you get the chance to attend a T-Wolves game this season, I suggest you take the time to stop by and see this beautiful tribute to a man we all called Flip.