Doc Rivers has a knack for promoting social justice. His resounding voice and leadership were evident during this summer’s NBA restart in Orlando, and beyond.
So it’s not surprising that the new 76ers coach is part of the 12-member National Basketball Social Justice Coalition that was established by the NBA and National Basketball Players Association. The coalition was formed to build upon social justice goals that were shared during the restart. It also was established to continue to address racial inequality in addition to advocating for meaningful change and promoting greater civic engagement.
Atlanta Hawks coach and former Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce is the other coach named to the coalition. Carmelo Anthony (Portland Trail Blazers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves), Avery Bradley (Los Angeles Lakers), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), and Sterling Brown (Milwaukee Bucks) are the players in the group.
Micky Arison (Miami Heat), Steve Ballmer (Los Angeles Clippers), Clay Bennett (Oklahoma City Thunder), Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks), and Vivek Ranadivé (Sacramento Kings) represent the owners.
In late August, Rivers, then the Clippers coach, showed raw emotion over the shooting of Jacob Blake and racism. Blake, a Black male, was shot by police in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 23.
“All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear,” Rivers, who is Black, said of the Republican National Convention. “We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones that were denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear.”
He talked about what it’s like to be a Black male and constantly being reminded of his color because of shootings such as Blake’s.
“It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back,” Rivers said. “It’s really so sad. Like I should just be a coach. I’m so often reminded of my color.”
He spoke of being sad, how people must do better and demand better.
“It’s funny. We protest. They send riot guards,” Rivers said. “They send people in riot outfits. They go to Michigan with guns. They’re spitting on cops. Nothing happens.”
Rivers also had a major voice in the players and coaches meeting inside the bubble after the Bucks spearheaded boycotts of playoffs games on Aug. 28. As the Sixers coach, Rivers donned a black cap with white VOTE lettering and delivered a fired-up speech at a Joe Biden rally on Nov. 1 at FDR Park in South Philly.