The Celtics were walking off the floor at Staples Center after outlasting the Lakers, 87-86, Feb. 18 and Rivers turned to his administrative right hand man, Jeff Twiss.
“Do you have an envelope?” Rivers asked.
Twiss was puzzled. The game was over. There was no need for tickets. But Rivers wanted an envelope. So he got Rivers an envelope.
They walked into the Celtics locker room, which was booming after breaking up the Lakers’ four-game winning streak. Rivers got their attention. He told everyone in the room to give him $100.
The people in the room were more puzzled than Twiss was.
Rivers took $100 from everyone in the room – players, coaches, managers – to the tune of $2,600 and put it all in the envelope. He then hid the envelope in the locker room.
“The only way you’ll get it back,” he told them, “is if you come back here and get it.”
The challenge was set months ago, and when the Celtics returned to Staples Center today, a day before Game 1 of the Finals, Rivers made good on his part of the deal, opening the envelope and giving each player his reward.
The hidden treasure obviously didn’t curse the Lakers, but it was another one of the many motivational tools Rivers used throughout the season.
When he said each player will get his money, Rivers meant it. There’s $100 waiting for Eddie House, whose last days as a Celtics were in Los Angeles.