L.A. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers broke down before the press hours before his side's game five loss against the Portland Trail Blazers, much to everyone's surprise.
The Clippers' playoff hopes hang in the balance as they face Portland tonight trailing the series 3-2. Rivers' emotional response spawned from a question regarding who he would turn to now that his two superstars, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were on the shelf.
The well-respected coach responded by saying: "I don't know," before referring to his late mother, Bettye Rivers, concluding: "That would have been a person."
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It comes as no surprise to his son, Austin Rivers, who is currently replacing Paul as the starting point guard in the Clippers' starting five, that his father would get so emotional thinking about his mother who passed away last June.
However, the 23-year-old also opened up about his relationship with Doc and curiously stated it's not as close as many people might believe.
“She was his rock,” Austin Rivers said. “My father’s a very private person. I mean a very private person. His life outside of basketball, he doesn’t really share it with anybody.”
“He doesn’t really share his life outside of basketball with me,” Austin said. “He and I don’t know each other like that. We know each other as strictly basketball. A lot of people on the outside don’t understand that because people think we have a relationship like every other father and son. We just don’t. That’s because he’s been gone my whole life, and that’s fine.
Austin stated that his mother and Doc's wife, Kristen, had some reservations about the two pairing up in Los Angeles. However, the prodigal son clearly respects his father - at least on a basketball level - and has insisted that losing his mother was the toughest thing his father has ever had to deal with.
"It’s worked out for the both of us. But the one person he could always really be with was his mom. That’s the toughest thing I’ve ever seen him go through; more than the Sterling stuff and even when his dad passed away. His mom was everything to him. I’ve never seen him like that.”
Well, there goes any calls of nepotism within the Clippers. If anything, it's quite the contrary and reading Austin's comments. Hearing how detached Austin has been from Doc down the years and the relationship they have now because of that is actually quite sad.
But, Austin clearly doesn't feel that way; he genuinely appears content with how things have turned out. Will he be able to say the same when the Clippers take on the Trail Blazers tonight with their playoff survival on the line?