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'I'd Tell Him Thank You' - Chauncey Billups On Flip Saunders

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Flip Saunders was known around the league as a players’ coach.

One of the players he connected most with and on more than one stop was point guard Chauncey Billups.

Billups was first with Saunders in Minnesota from 2000-2002. The two then joined up again from 2005-2008 with the Pistons, advancing to three-straight Eastern Conference Finals.

“Flip to me as a coach, he taught me so much,” Billups said. “He was so patient with me. He a had a ton to do with me learning the game of basketball. Learning the position. There are not many coaches that you play for that you continue on and have a lifelong relationship/friendship with. Flip was that kind of guy. If I had a chance to talk to Flip one last time, I would simply just tell him ‘thank you for playing the role you’ve played in my life and I will forever, forever be indebted to you.'"

Saunders hosted Billups at a few practices when Saunders returned back to Minnesota as President of Basketball Operations in 2013 and coach in 2014-15.

This is one of many stories of the impact Saunders had on the game of basketball. Billups will likely make the Hall of Fame and appeared in six All-Star Games, three coming with Saunders as his coach.

Flip Saunders Night will be on Thursday when the Wolves host the Lakers. A ceremony will be held about an hour before the 8 p.m. tipoff. Players will wear custom shoes honoring Flip  and all fans in attendance will receive a commemorative coin, one of Flip’s trademarks during his time with the team.