Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine's performance in the 2016 NBA Slam Dunk Contest was spectacular. It might have been the best ever. As amazing as his dunks were, however, they were outdone by a heartwarming message from LaVine after the competition was all said and done.
Flip Saunders, LaVine's former Wolves coach, tragically passed away on October 25, 2015, just days before Minnesota's season began. His death rocked the basketball community and hit LaVine especially hard. Saunders was a huge part of LaVine's life and early growth as an NBA player -- something the two-time dunk champion noted on Saturday night in dedicating his win to the late Saunders:
Saunders was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma this past summer. Even though his time with LaVine was shorter than it should have been, it didn't take long for Saunders made his mark with the young guard. LaVine shared one particular tale of Saunders' charm and humor with FOX Sports earlier this season that sticks out. After the Wolves drafted LaVine, he and Saunders went to dinner, where the GM flashed his skills:
It's classic Saunders -- a coach who was the ultimate dad.