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Timberwolves pay tribute to former head coach Flip Saunders

Debbie Saunders and son Ryan, in attendance with other family members, applaud during ceremonies for the unveiling of a banner honoring their husband and father, the late Flip Saunders, prior to the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Lakers, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Minneapolis. Saunders was the head of basketball operations and head coach of the Timberwolves at the time of his death. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Thanks to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl Anthony-Towns and Kickstradomis, longtime head coach Flip Saunders got a truly fitting tribute.

On Thursday, in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Timberwolves went all out in honoring the late coach, who passed away in 2015.

Sal Amezcua, or Kickstradomis, created custom colorways on each of the Timberwolves’ players’ shoes, ingraining Saunders name and likenesses into each one. Anthony-Towns partnered up with Amezcua to make it all happen — the artist has done a number of custom shoes for the big man — and commissioned the works.

Here is how the custom-shoe tribute came about.

Following the game, the shoes were to be auctioned off, with the proceeds going toward the Flip Saunders Legacy Fund.

On top of potentially walking away with custom kicks, fans received a commemorative Flip Saunders coin, similar to the ones the coach would create each season for his players, coaches and the occasional fan.

Former players also shared their memories and thoughts of Saunders during a pregame ceremony.

Adding to the touching tribute, former players, family members and those who were close to him shared their thoughts and memories of Saunders before a permanent “FLIP” banner was raised in his honor at Target Center.

During his 12-year run with the Timberwolves, Saunders posted a 427-392 record, including eight consecutive postseason berths from 1995-2005. His team made the Western Conference Finals in 2004, losing to the Lakers in six games.


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