Rick Carlisle, Dallas Mavericks head coach and president of the NBA Coaches Association, announced that all NBA coaches will wear a special lapel pin during the 2015-16 season to honor the late Flip Saunders. Saunders, an NBA lifer who was most recently coach and minority owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, died from cancer just before the start of the season.
Saunders was a well-liked professional in an ultra-competitive profession where envy and competition don’t make lasting friendships easy. His sudden passing at age 60 from Hodgkin’s lymphoma that was diagnosed only months earlier shocked the league and its fans — and brought out widespread praise of Saunders as both a basketball mind and a good citizen. His fellow coaches will honor his memory — and his family — by wearing the lapel pins. The Coaches Association said in a statement that, “Flip’s innovativeness, competitive integrity and coaching longevity make him one of the most respected coaches in NBA history.”