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Scott Brooks mother Lee passes away
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DENVER (AP) — Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks was on the bench leading his team in Sunday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets one day after his 79-year-old mother’s death.

Brooks said in a statement that he decided to coach the game because that’s what he feels his mother, Lee Brooks, would have wanted.

“I appreciate the thoughts and prayers that are with my family,” Brooks said. “I know my mom would want me to coach tonight’s game and I do so to honor her memory and all that she meant to me as a mother and as an invaluable role model.”

There was no immediate word on the cause of death.

Lee Brooks had continued operating a family-owned car wash business in Manteca. She raised Brooks and six siblings after his father left the family when Scott Brooks was still a toddler.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Scott and his family as they mourn the loss of his mother, Lee,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement. “Over the years we have come to learn of the tremendous woman that she was; her love and dedication to family, her work ethic, her perseverance and the impact that she had on Scott. Clearly she was an incredible individual who we all came to admire in getting a small glimpse of her life. The entire Thunder organization supports Scott during this very difficult time.”

Lee Brooks - the mother of Oklahoma City Thunder basketball coach Scott Brooks has passed away.

Brooks in an interview last year said he had  no doubt who played the biggest role in molding him into a head coach. His mother. Growing up in Lathrop as the youngest of seven children, Brooks never really knew his father. He had left by the time Brooks was 2 and died without a reunion with his youngest son.

It was up to his mother, Lee, to provide for the family — building and rebuilding automotive parts and working in the fields.

“You worked every day to earn what’s on the table, literally. It was a week-to-week thing,” Brooks said in 2011. “And I wouldn’t change it. I would not change it for anything. I don’t like the fact that she has suffered a lot of tough times financially, but she doesn’t complain and I wouldn’t change anything.”

“She provided toughness every day. Every day, she would wake up whether she wasn’t feeling good or sick. When you don’t have much and you need to be at work, there’s no such thing as being sick,” Brooks said. “To see her do that, it inspired me and my brothers and sisters. I was able to see that every day.

“There was no off days on her being a mom. She was dedicated. She gave her life. She never remarried. She gave her life to making her kids better off, and we all are better off for what she has done.”