The Minnesota Timberwolves welcomed Thaddeus Young back to the lineup for Wednesday's game against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks after the starting power forward had missed five games to be with and later mourn his mother, Lulu Hall, who died Nov. 13 after an 18-month battle with breast cancer. She was 57 years old.
To welcome back their teammate, pay tribute to his late mother, and show solidarity with all those whose lives have been impacted in some way by breast cancer, the Wolves petitioned the NBA to be able to wear pink shoelaces in their sneakers for Wednesday's game:
Timberwolves players will honor Thad Youngs mom tonight by wearing pink shoe laces during their game vs Milwaukee! pic.twitter.com/9VMBC70aBf— chris wright (@wolvespresident) November 26, 2014
"It's a great tribute, not just to Thad's mom, but [because] so many women have been affected by breast cancer," Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders said before the game.
Young seemed eager to get back into the fold against the Bucks, but also expressed gratitude at being able to be by his mother's side for her final moments. From the Associated Press:
"The last 10 or 15 minutes of my mom's life I was there holding her hand," Young said Monday when he returned to Timberwolves practice. "I felt her last breaths as she passed away." [...]
"My mom is one of the strongest women I knew," Young said. "She did everything. She sacrificed everything. For her to pass, it definitely hurts badly. She was my motivation, my concentration, my focus, everything. Just try to keep making her proud."
Showing a small sign of support for all those whose lives have been touched by breast cancer to some degree would figure to do just that, as would Young's call for increased awareness and a proactive approach to preventive care in the lives of all those he impacts.
“I want to take this opportunity to remind my NBA brothers, colleagues and fans of the importance of regular breast exams and mammograms," Young said in a team statement. "Please encourage the woman in your lives — the mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, aunts and girlfriends — to get screened for breast cancer.”
The Wolves weren't able to pull out the win in Young's return, falling to Milwaukee, 103-86. Larry Sanders (15 points on 7-for-10 shooting, seven rebounds, five blocks) and Brandon Knight (15 points, 8-for-8 from the foul line) led seven Bucks in double figures as Jason Kidd's club improved to 9-7 on the season. Corey Brewer (19 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals) led the way for the Wolves, who fell to 3-10. A rusty Young missed nine of his 10 field-goal attempts and three of his four free throws, finishing with three points, four rebounds and four assists in 27 1/2 minutes in his first game back.
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