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Doc Rivers

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Doc Rivers
Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers will go down as one of the best basketball coaches to ever live.

Getty Images/Al Bello
As a member of the Atlanta Hawks, Doc Rivers was a solid starter for several seasons. As an NBA coach, he has earned recognition as one of the best to ever hold a clipboard.

Quick Facts

  • Name: Glenn Anton “Doc” Rivers
  • Position: Head Coach
  • High School: Proviso East in Maywood, Illinois
  • College: Marquette
  • Birthdate: October 13, 1961
  • Home Town: Chicago, Illinois
  • Drafted: #31 overall, 1983 NBA Draft, by the Atlanta Hawks

Coaching Career

Although Rivers played over 10 years in the NBA as a point guard, he will always be known more for his coaching. Just three years removed from his playing career, the Orlando Magic hired Rivers as their head coach in 1999.

Rivers shocked all of his critics in his first season as the Magic’s head coach after leading the team to a near playoff berth. That was considered a remarkable accomplishment considering the team was predicted to have the worst record in the NBA by most analysts prior to the season. The team finished with a split record of 41 wins and 41 losses. Rivers was awarded the Coach of the Year award following the season.

Following a great season as a rookie head coach, all of a sudden the Magic had high expectations. Rivers would make the playoffs in his next three years in Orlando, but they lost in the first round each time.

After a horrible 1-10 start to the 2003-04 season, the Magic fired Rivers as their head coach.

Left without a coaching job, Rivers would spend the next year as an ABC basketball commentator. He called the 2004 NBA Finals with the legendary Al Michaels.

Boston Celtics

At this point in Rivers’ coaching career, he was still a young and unproven guy. He had many critics following his days with the Magic, but that didn’t stop the Boston Celtics from giving him a chance.

He had a rocky start in Boston with many critics calling for his job after poor seasons in 2004, 2005 and 2006. In his first three seasons with Boston, he compiled a record of 102-144.

The Celtics stuck with Rivers and it paid off during the 2007-08 season. That was the season when Rivers began to build his legendary coaching career. After setting an NBA record with 26 postseason games, the Celtics won the NBA Championship over the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Although he would never win another title as the coach of the Celtics, Rivers stuck with the team for five more seasons. Each season the Celtics would make it deep into the playoffs and contend for a championship. However, they would only make one more NBA Finals appearance. Ironically, they would face the Lakers again for the title in 2010. Los Angeles would get their revenge and win the title in seven games.

Doc Rivers last memorable moment as the Celtics head coach would come on February 6, 2013 when he won his 400th game with the team.

Rivers reportedly contemplated retirement several times during his last few seasons with the Celtics. He recognized that his roster in Boston wasn’t getting any younger and he didn’t want to go through a long rebuilding process.

Los Angeles Clippers

During the 2013 offseason, the Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers entered heated negotiations for the rights to Rivers. Boston felt like they had to get something in return for the coach, otherwise he would have retired. The Clippers had a talented young roster which intrigued Rivers.

In late June of 2013, the two sides finally agreed to a deal. The Clippers signed Rivers to a three-year contract worth $21 million. In return the Celtics received a 2015 first-round pick.

Playing Career

While most people will remember Doc Rivers as a coach, he was a very underrated player. He was a McDonald’s All-American for Proviso East High School in Chicago. Rivers played a huge role with national team in the 1982 FIBA World Championship. He was eventually named the tournament MVP.

Even with MVP honors, the FIBA Championship is not a good memory for Rivers. He missed his team’s last shot in the final game which would have earned them the title.

Rivers would go on to play three seasons with Marquette University before being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the 31st pick in the 1982 NBA draft. He would eventually get his degree after successfully juggling his studies and his professional basketball career at the same time.

Rivers spent seven seasons as the Atlanta Hawks’ starting point guard. He never reached superstar status, but he contributed to the team’s consistent regular season success by assisting star Dominique Wilkins.

After leaving the Atlanta Hawks in 1991, Rivers spent one year as a starter for the Los Angeles Clippers and two years with the New York Knicks. He finished his playing career as an average bench player with the San Antonio Spurs from 1194-96.

Rivers’ best season as a player came during in 1986-87 with the Hawks when he averaged a double-double with 12.8 points and 10 assists per game.

Personal Life

Basketball runs through Doc Rivers’ family. He is the nephew of former NBA player Jim Brewer and the cousin of former NBA guard Byron Irvin.

He resides in Orlando, Florida with his wife Kristen. The couple has four children together and all of them are good athletes. Their oldest son Jeremiah played basketball for Georgetown and Indiana. He also played in the NBA D-League.

Their youngest son Austin played one year for Duke before being drafted 10th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets.

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