The Boston Celtics have a fairly busy, highly anticipated 48 hours in front of them. In just hours, the Celtics will tip-off at the Barclays Center against the Brooklyn Nets for their first game against both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Then, hours later, the C’s are slated to travel back to Boston and host the Clippers on Wednesday night, a home coming for former head coach Doc Rivers. Rivers coached in Boston for nine years before leaving to head to Los Angeles during the middle of his contract with the Celtics during the offseason this past year. Because of this, some fans feel as though Rivers walked out on the team.
In an appearance on Felger & Mazz Tuesday afternoon, Rivers admitted to doing so.
“I did at the end of the day,” Rivers said. “You make choices in your life, it happens… It was a very difficult decision for me to make; whether to walk away and sit a couple of years, which was another way I was leaning, or if the right job presented itself to walk away and do that.”
However, the coach who led the Celtics to a world championship did explain his thought-process in leaving Boston.
“I was afforded a great opportunity here with the Clippers. This is the first time I’ve been able to coach a team and run a team,” Rivers continued. “This may work, it may not work. It’s a far bigger gamble for me than anyone else. So I thought it was the right time to take it.”
The Clippers are currently 14-8 on the season, the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. Rivers, as he has done in the past, is challenged with the task of making a team of all-stars (Chris Paul, Blake Griffin) into a contender, and hopefully capturing the franchise’s first NBA title.
Still, Rivers can’t help but remember his days in Boston.
“I put in nine great years here,” Rivers said. “There’s no controversy here about that. That’s the way I look at it. I’ve had such a good time today walking around the city and seeing a bunch of friends, going to my favorite places and restaurants.”
Because of the professional that he is, Doc knows that once the ball is tipped tomorrow night he will be doing everything he can to beat the team he once walked the sidelines for. However, he does admit he will be thinking about the times he shared as a Celtic.
“Tomorrow will be an emotional day for me, I can tell you that,” said Rivers.