Last night the Houston Rockets wore green bands on their jerseys to pay tribute to the late Sasha McHale. They came out of that game with a 117-101 win over the Toronto Raptors at home. After the game coach Kevin McHale texted his team and said “thank you” for getting him a win in such a tough time in his life.
The Rockets flew to Minnesota last night and attended Sasha’s funeral today before flying out to play the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight. The team expressed their feelings through twitter earlier today.
“He’s all over our mind,” Chandler Parsons said. “That’s our head coach. That’s our leader. Just imagine what he’s going through, just how close he is with his family. It hurts. He texted at the end of the game to say ‘Thank you.’ So you can tell he’s down, but just watching us get these wins is helping him and I think that should give us more incentive to keep playing together, keep playing hard, and being a product of him because even though he’s hurting right now, he’s watching us. And he’s proud of us.”
“We all wanted to do it,” Jeremy Lin said. “We all wanted to do it for him. And we’re going to see him tomorrow, so it’s been awhile.
“Anything that we can do to try to get his mind off of what he has going on… he’s such an unselfish team person. I know he watched the game because he texted me and told me his thoughts. It’s just incredible that he takes the time to do that. For me, I’m starting to see him kind of like as more than a coach because he goes beyond what a head coach is obligated to do.”
“Just made me sit back and think about how precious life is and how sometimes we all take it for granted,” James Harden said.
It’s easy to see the players love Kevin McHale and can’t wait for him to come back. There is no timetable for his return and there shouldn’t be. I can’t even imagine what he’s going through right. Family is always bigger than basketball but if a few Rockets win’s can somehow take his mind off of the pain for a brief moment that’s all you can ask for at this time.
Sasha was just 23 years old when she passed away on Saturday afternoon. Rest easy, Sasha.