Why Doc hates SI ... sometimes
All summer he was subjected to the magazine's ads offering a Lakers commemorative package, aimed at luring L.A. fans after their team rallied to top the Celtics in a seven-game series in June. Rivers would be OK if he never saw the video of the Lakers' Game 7 celebration again, even if he admits to using it as fuel to inspire his team this season.
"It's painful every day and I don't think that will go away," Rivers said when asked about Game 7. "It's really interesting, how often you think about it. Hell, they show the damn video all the time, that you can get a Sports Illustrated subscription. It drives me nuts, it honestly does. So many times I've walked away from the TV, hating Sports Illustrated at times.
"I don't think that will ever go away. I don't think it should. We showed our team a little clip of it -- the [Lakers] celebration at least -- on the opening day of training camp. I was amazed at how raw that still was with the players. I underestimated that. In a good way, that will stick with me forever."
Asked if Rivers ever laments other missed opportunities from that series, including Game 6, he admits it's hard not to focus on Game 7, particularly since Boston led for much of the game, including with six minutes to play.
"Oh, it's Game 7, that's all of us," said Rivers. "I don't know why we're built that way, we shouldn't be. Larry Brown told me this summer when we talked, 'You know, you guys should think about Game 6.' I said, 'Yeah, easy for you.' Mr. Optimistic is telling that to me. No, you think about Game 7 over and over again. I'm sure that will last forever."
Fortunately for Rivers and the Celtics, a window that had potential to close after last season remains open entering the 2010-11 campaign. Rivers admits no one knows for sure when that window will slam shut, but he's enjoying the fresh air while he can.
"We still don't know when the expiration date is," said Rivers. "It could be a year, it could be two years. It could be this year in the middle of it. We just don't know that. But they look great. [The Big Three] are all professionals and I think that's what helped. They keep themselves in great shape. For the most part, we've been relatively healthy."
And if the Celtics remain healthy this season, Rivers is confident they can stop making Game 7 a haunting memory, at least on a daily basis. And next summer he'd be less adverse to SI's marketing campaigns if it centered around soliciting Boston fans.
Play Podcast Grantland's Bill Simmons discusses the state of the Lakers, Phil Jackson's future, the perception of Rajon Rondo, Doc Rivers' impact on the Clippers and more.
Play Podcast Red Sox manager John Farrell talks about whether he expected his team to make such a turnaround in one season, his relationship with his players, fans' expectations for the squad and more.