New Sixers coach Doc Rivers: ‘We are ready to do good things in Philadelphia’
“I am really excited about the opportunity to be joining a world-class franchise, a franchise whose legend inspired my nickname,” Rivers said.
The 76ers made it official Saturday morning, announcing the hiring of Glenn “Doc” Rivers as head coach.
The coach is expected to return to the Philadelphia area on Sunday evening and will start on his new job on Monday.
In Rivers, the Sixers get a coach who is widely respected around the league to become the face of the organization.
“I believe Doc can help us unlock our full potential on the floor and further our pursuit of an NBA championship," general manager Elton Brand said in a statement. "I also respect and appreciate that his impact extends far beyond the basketball court as he truly embraces the platform he has to drive positive change in society.
"Doc is a great fit for our team and city, and I’m excited for what the future holds with him as our head coach.”
Rivers, 58, was the NBA Coach of the Year in 2000 with the Orlando Magic. Eight years later, he led the Boston Celtics to the NBA title. Rivers had a hand in changing the culture and perception of the Clippers.
But he will always be remembered for showing raw emotion on Aug. 25 after the Clippers' 154-111 victory in Game 5 over the Dallas Mavericks. It had nothing to do with the game, which gave his squad a 3-2 lead in the first-round series, and everything to do with Jacob Blake and racism in America. Blake, a Black male, was shot by police in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 22.
“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 we’re 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 the experience of being a Black man 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 and 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 has compiled a 943-681 regular-season record in stops with the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, and Clippers. He is two victories shy of passing Bill Fitch for 10th place on the NBA all-time wins list. His 943 victories are the second most among active coaches, behind only Gregg Popovich’s 1,277. With the Clippers, he had a 356-206 mark, with the top winning percentage (.631) in franchise history.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to be joining a world-class franchise, a franchise whose legend inspired my nickname,” Rivers said, referencing Hall of Famer and Sixers great Julius “Dr. J” Erving. “This is a city that loves sports and loves their teams.
"It’s a city that values hard work and that is exactly what we are going to do and who we are going to be. We are ready to do good things in Philadelphia.”