Boston Celtics

Doc Rivers says he’d have quit coaching if he didn’t win title with 2008 Celtics

Doc Rivers says he’d have quit coaching if he didn’t win title with 2008 Celtics

Ex-Celtics coach Doc Rivers, now coach of the Clippers, in an interview with ESPN’s The Undefeated, looked back at his time in Boston as the 10th anniversary of the NBA title season approaches.

Rivers said that if he hadn’t been able to win a championship in 2008, he probably would’ve quit coaching.

“…Honestly, without that, I probably wouldn’t be coaching. I probably would have stopped,” Rivers told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears. “The fact that I realized how hard it is and how tough the chase is, I swear it’s the only reason I coach. I love the chase. I want to get there…”

The Celtics’ Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were, of course, the catalysts behind the title team. Allen has now famously been ostracized by KG and Pierce for his departure to the Miami Heat in 2012. Rivers was asked if the relationship can be repaired.

Said Rivers: “The Ray thing? I don’t know. I think it will [heal]. At the end of the day, that team was as close of a group of any I have ever been around.

“So, when one leaves, it hurts your feelings. I think that’s what happened with our guys. Ray’s a terrific guy. We all know that. The guys that are with him are terrific. It will get back.”

Rivers said he’s tried to help mend fences.

“Yeah. I’ve tried to, slowly,” he told Spears. “But I think the time will help them get back together. Well, at least I’m hoping. So far, unsuccessfully. But I do think it will happen.”

Rivers said in retrospect, the Celtics allowed too many members of the supporting cast from 2008 to get away too quickly.

“…The thing I liked most about that team was, well, Kevin, Paul [Pierce] and Ray Allen were phenomenal, but if you look at that team, they had a bunch of instigator tough guys. Tony Allen, Leon Powe to [Big] Baby [Glen Davis] to Perk [Kendrick Perkins], James Posey. That team was built to win.

“The only mistake was after that year we allowed too many of them to go. We kept changing. That 2010 [NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers] is something that we will think about forever. Perk going down in Game 6. Losing Game 7 was tough for us.”

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Photo of Celtics' 1963 White House visit recalls a simpler time

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Photo of Celtics' 1963 White House visit recalls a simpler time

As the controversy raged Saturday over President Donald Trump's tweet rescinding the White House invitation to Golden State Warriors' star Stephen Curry, a tweeted photo recalling a simpler time for sports team's presidential visits appeared. 

The nostalgic Twitter account @the_60s_at_50 posted a photo from the Celtics' visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and its principal occupant, John F. Kennedy, on Jan. 31, 1963. JFK had invited his hometown NBA team into the Oval Office for what seemed to be a spur-of-the-moment visit.

A newspaper account of the visit was also posted. The defending NBA champion Celtics were in the Washington area to play the Cincinnati Royals at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House that night and had been taking a tour of the White House when Kennedy invited them in. 

All the team members were there except for star center Bill Russell, who, of course, experienced incidents of racism in Boston that were well-documented. However, Russell's absence was blamed on him oversleeping. His teammates said they didn't know they would meet Kennedy on the tour.  

And yes, that's Celtics legend - and CSN's own - Tommy Heinsohn second from right. Coach Red Auerbach is next to the President on the left, Bob Cousy is next to Auerbach and John Havlicek is the first player in the second row on the left.