Clippers coach Doc Rivers got emotional during a pregame press conference on Wednesday in Los Angeles. But his tears had little to do with basketball.
In the aftermath of injuries to Clippers stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, Rivers was asked who he leans on when he gets discouraged. The question came before Game 5 of the Clippers’ first-round series with the Trail Blazers.
“I don’t know. It’s a good question,” he said, appearing to get emotional. “I don’t have an answer — I actually do.”
A reporter rephrased the question, and Rivers’s eyes began to well up.
“I’m not crying over being discouraged,” Rivers said. “But it made me think about about my mom, and so — that would have been the person.”
His mother, Bettye Rivers, died in June 2015. According to the Orange County Register, she fostered Rivers’s love for basketball.
“She loved basketball. I went to every single Proviso East [High School] game from the time I was in the first grade until I played,” Rivers told the Register in Dec. 2015. “I missed one game maybe. She was the one who took me. That’s when I learned to love basketball.”