Austin Rivers 'really excited' to play against Celtics


Austin Rivers 'really excited' to play against Celtics

BOSTON -- It's not every day that a visiting player is ushered into a separate room and given his own press conference prior to facing the Boston Celtics.
In the past, special arrangements like that have been made for LeBron James when he came to Boston. Someone like Ray Allen may prompt the same type of scenario when he returns to the TD Garden for the first time later this month.
But a rookie? Until Wednesday night, that would have been highly unlikely.
Then again, Doc Rivers' son had never played against the Celtics before.
Austin Rivers is facing his father's team as a member of the New Orleans Hornets. The 10th overall pick in last summer's draft addressed the media for roughly ten minutes before the game. Step inside Austin Rivers' world:

Neither Austin or Doc want to psyche themselves out with this game. The significance of it, though, is undeniable.
"Ive just tried to treat it as it is," said Austin. "I think a lot of guys or a lot of people try to hide the fact that theyre going against a team that they know very well, or when they go against their father, they try to pretend its a normal game. Its pretty much impossible to do that so I just try to treat it as it is -- Im going against a team with guys that I know pretty well and my father coaches the other team, and it is what it is. Im just gonna have fun with it. This is a fun chance. Im more excited to play against a playoff-caliber team, a Hall of Fame team, thats why Im just really excited to go out there and compete tonight, and just have fun in the game whether things are going well or not. And hopefully we will win.

When Austin hears a certain voice coming from the sidelines, he may do a double-take.
This is the same type of yell hed use if I beat up my little brother or didnt do my homework," Austin said. "So I know when hes yelling, I'm going to have to look back for a second and think, 'Oh, hes not talking to me.' He actually might say something to me, who knows. I dont know, it's one of those things where I think I'm just going to lose myself into the game. If this happen or he does something, I'm not going to pay attention to it. I'm just going to be focusing on what I need to do with my team, my coach and my players.

Austin did not hesitate to answer when asked who he believes is the best coach in the NBA.
"My father," he quickly replied, "And Gregg Popovich would have to be the two best coaches. I think Coach (Monty) Williams is on the up and coming, just the way he coaches, he's kind of similar to my father, just the way he gets after it and how hungry he is. So I know he'll be a great coach and he is now. There's a lot of great coaches, but if I had to choose one or two, it'd have to be Greg Popovich and my father."

Austin has never lacked in confidence, although it has been tested his rookie season.
"You've seen a lot of guys this year, rookies, especially our class right now as been so up and down," he said. "There's guys that I've known my whole life that don't look the same. There's people with their head down and I think I've been a culprit as well. There've been games when I've had my head down, and that's never been me. That's where you've just got to stay up and stay confident and believe in yourself. To be truthful, confidence for me is a huge part of my game and I think everybody knows that. I've gotten here obviously of hard work and support behind me, my confidence has always been steady, no matter how good or bad I played, I always believed in myself. And I think that's when I've got to improve on even more now because there's been games, where after the game I'm like, man what was I doing? And you can't think that. You've got to be like, You know what? I've got to keep going at it, I've got to keep just going for it. I know if I do that and I break through it, it's just going to feel so much better. That's my focus right now."
Who does Austin think his mother his pulling for -- her son or or husband? "Me," he said, "Because she loves me more than him."

Kevin Walsh: An unforgettable encounter with Arnold Palmer


Kevin Walsh: An unforgettable encounter with Arnold Palmer

With the passing of Arnold Palmer, CSN's Kevin Walsh looks back on an unforgetable encounter he had with the golf legend

It was May 2000.  I had just finished playing golf at Pebble Beach.  I walked out of the clubhouse and a Lincoln Town Car pulled up to the putting green, Arnold Palmer hopped out. It was as if he’d fallen out of the sky. 

I had my tape recorder with me and asked if I could ask him a few questions about being a caddy in his younger years in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. 

“Yes, but I have only about five minutes,” he said.

I was very nervous and having trouble putting the cassette tape into the recorder.  He eventually took it out of my hands and did it for me. 

My nerves were gone.

So we’re talking and the door to The Lodge bursts open and a guy yells “Hey Arnold!  We’re in the bar having a beer!”

“Well,” Arnold yells back, “Order me one!”

Arnold was hard of hearing.  He saddled up next to me, and tilted his head so I could talk right into his ear. I couldn’t believe I was talking directly into Arnold Palmer’s ear. He was practically stepping on my feet. He wore tiny hearing aids that were only visible if you were as close as I was.

After ten minutes of talking, I reminded him that he had friends waiting, and a beer that was probably warm by that time.  He wanted to make sure that I had enough.  I did and I was beaming.  I’m not sure my feet touched the ground on the walk back to the car.  

Golf legend Arnold Palmer passes away at 87


Golf legend Arnold Palmer passes away at 87

Arnold Palmer brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner's touch. At ease with both presidents and the golfing public, and on a first-name basis with both, "The King," died Sunday in Pittsburgh. He was 87.

Alastair Johnson, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, confirmed that Palmer died Sunday afternoon of complications from heart problems.

Palmer ranked among the most important figures in golf history, and it went well beyond his seven major championships and 62 PGA Tour wins. His good looks, devilish grin and go-for-broke manner made the elite sport appealing to one and all. And it helped that he arrived about the same time as television moved into most households, a perfect fit that sent golf to unprecedented popularity.

Beyond his golf, Palmer was a pioneer in sports marketing, paving the way for scores of other athletes to reap in millions from endorsements. Some four decades after his last PGA Tour win, he ranked among the highest-earners in golf.

On the golf course, Palmer was an icon not for how often he won, but the way he did it.