The Celtics clinched a fifth straight Atlantic Division title with their win over Orlando on Wednesday night, but coach Doc Rivers didn’t want the Magic to dominate his press conference. Before closing his meeting with the media, he brought up Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt, whose retirement due to Alzheimers earlier in the day nearly brought Rivers to tears.
“I want to finish with Pat Summitt. Retired. She’s a neat lady. I got to know her a little bit. And I just think it’s really sad, in a lot of ways. Not basketball, but everything. So, I didn’t want to get emotional; I’m an emotional person. And when you see a giant like that leave the game, and leave the game because of health, it’s just sad.”
Rivers is known as an emotional coach, especially if you remember the goodbyes to the traded Kendrick Perkins last spring that looked like the death of a family member. It seems like observers of the NBA’s biggest complaint is that its coaches and players don’t care like their college counterparts. But Rivers’ emotional tribute is a nice reminder that hoops can bind across any lines, paying respect from Doc (544-432) for Summitt’s record (1,098-208) as a coach and a person.
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