Esquire (USA)

what I've learned

- Interview by BRADY LANGMANN

__GROWING UP IN Maywood, Chicago, there would be 20 people waiting to play. They didn’t care if you’re Michael Jordan—if you lost, you waited. __I REALLY WASN’T a big TV watcher growing up. I was playing basketball. It’s funny— I never called it “practice” growing up. __PHILADELPH­IA SO FAR? Their passion. Also, I had a great meal from a restaurant called Parc. Beef Bolognese, steak tartare. Probably the best meal I had thus far. But it was takeout. __THERE’S TWO SECRETS to gumbo. You buy the shrimp that’s already been peeled because there’s less work. And never be scared to add more ingredient­s. __MY DAD WOULD always say, “Trust everybody, but cut the cards.” And he was a cop. So you know where that was coming from. __WHEN YOU’RE AT home, you get into a basic norm. Being in a bubble, it pushed you to get out of that. You have nowhere to go. So you start working out more. I started meditating way more. You start reading more. Some people, my guess, didn’t do any of those things, and the bubble ate ’em up. __THAT WAS THE other thing that was funny about the bubble. People knew where you were at. I made a comment, “I didn’t drink a lot of wine, but I’m having a good glass every night.” I started getting bottles of wine. I was thinking I should have made that comment years ago. __KEVIN GARNETT, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen [of the 2008 Celtics, whom Rivers coached to an NBA championsh­ip] had had real success. They didn’t need it in their life. When you have a group of guys that have all decided they’re gonna get over themselves, they’re gonna give themselves to a team, it turns into a group. __I DON’T KNOW who said it, but when you win a title, it’s like you’ve had a blood transfusio­n. That group you win with, you’re literally bonded for life. __LAST YEAR, we [the Clippers] lost to Denver—up in the series, up 3–1. The next day, I was back in L. A. When we lost that series, we had to get on the plane as a team and fly back. You walk in that house and you’re like, What am I doing here? My mom used to say: “You’re right where you’re supposed to be.” Basically telling me, “You didn’t do well enough. Do something about it.” __IT’S FUNNY. WE ALL want to take the congratula­tions. But none of us want to take the fallout when things don’t go well. __THERE’S TIMES THAT I’m wrong about what I speak as the truth. I tell my players that. __WE HAD THAT big meeting with the players. They were thinking about not playing. There was a rookie on the Boston Celtics. He did a PowerPoint presentati­on. It stood out that this kid, in front of LeBron James and Chris Paul, had the courage to give his thoughts on what it’ll take to change social justice, so much that he did it through a PowerPoint presentati­on. It made me think, as an older adult, that we’re in good hands. __IF I’D HAD more time, the only thing I would’ve added is I don’t understand why giving everyone equal rights is a problem. My color of skin should not mean that my mortgage rates are higher, that I can’t get into certain schools. I really believe half of America thinks giving equal rights means they’re giving up equal rights. And they’re not. They’re just giving someone who hasn’t had something the same thing they’ve had. __WHAT MAKES ME excited to coach that duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid? The yet part. You know, they haven’t won yet. The opportunit­y to have them take the yet away is what drives me. __YOU’RE GONNA LOSE. You’re gonna have to wait your turn. And then you’re gonna get another chance. __I JUST WANT this to be a better place. For all of us. I think this is an amazing country. And yet we can do better. We have to.

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 ??  ?? After a sevenseaso­n stint with the L.A. Clippers, Rivers joined the 76ers as head coach this past fall.
After a sevenseaso­n stint with the L.A. Clippers, Rivers joined the 76ers as head coach this past fall.

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