If you’re looking for Doc Rivers during the All-Star break, you can probably find him on Interstate 4 between Orlando and Tampa.
“Unfortunately, AAU season starts every year during the All-Star break,” Rivers said before Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee, his team’s first win in over a month. “I’ll be going back and forth every day.”
Rivers has four children — Jeremiah, Callie, Austin, and Spencer. Jeremiah is a freshman guard at Georgetown, but the other three children and Rivers’s wife, Kris, live at the family home in Winter Park, Fla. Callie is a nationally ranked high school volleyball player, Austin an up-and-coming middle school basketball player, and Spencer a budding football and basketball star.
Rivers will shuttle Austin and Spencer between Tampa and Florida for AAU basketball games over the break.
“I’m going to be in the gym,” said Rivers. “But at least it’s a different type of atmosphere.”
The line between father and coach is a shaky one for Rivers, who said he has done a good job resisting the temptation to become too hands-on with his kids’ coaches. Rivers said he plays both roles when watching his children play.
“I’m a father and a coach, unfortunately for [them],” said Rivers. “It’s tough to watch a game just as a parent. I don’t think I’ve ever said a word to another coach about coaching my kids. I let them coach. Especially with Jeremiah, who’s now in college. I don’t even want to know. Just keep coaching.”
Rivers would not reveal much when asked to evaluate Jeremiah’s play at Georgetown.
“I believe I have to be his father,” said Rivers. “I have to tell him to brush his teeth. Obviously he’s playing, and he’s a freshman, so I’m excited about that. He’s been up and down in his play. He has a great body for our league. Now he just has to get the mind.”
When Georgetown played Marquette, Rivers’s alma mater last week, the coach said he made the mistake of telling his wife the game would be a win-win no matter what happened.
“She said: ‘No, it’s only one win. If Jeremiah loses it’s not a win.’ And she was right. I learned a lesson there.”
With one of the youngest teams in the league, Rivers said he sometimes feels like a father to his Celtics players.
“I do [feel that way],” said Rivers. “With all of them. Even the older guys. But definitely with the young ones. From warning them about All-Star weekends, to every day there’s something with these guys I warn them about: about spending money, about people around them. That’s what you have to do. They’re young.”
Does the coach treat his players like he treats his own kids?
“I bet sometimes they think I do,” he said. “There are some things that have nothing to do with basketball that I have absolutely gotten on some guys about. Even to the point of picking up behind themselves in the locker room. Things that you think you wouldn’t normally have to do.”
“At this point in their lives basically everything is done for them. In an AAU generation, basically everything is done for these kids now. So you have to make sure they understand the value of human beings and people and treating people right. If a guy makes us breakfast in the morning and one of them comes in and says, ‘Give me this,’ I’m going to correct them and tell them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. I want them to be great human beings. That’s probably not in the job description, but in this case it is.”