Former Boston Celtics guard Keyon Dooling, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers and spent the first four seasons of his NBA career with the team, said his heart goes out to coach Doc Rivers as he navigates the fallout surrounding owner Donald Sterling.
During an appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI (93.7 FM), Dooling joined the chorus of those who have voiced harsh criticism in response to racist comments allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Dooling also expressed support for Rivers, the former Celtics coach, who must guide his team through the playoffs with the situation looming above.
"My heart goes out to Doc. I love Doc. He’s the guy who came to see me every day when I was in the mental institution," said Dooling, referencing his weeklong stay in an asylum in 2012 after a mental breakdown that stemmed from sexual abuse suffered as a child. "I know [Rivers is] a great leader. Doc used to always say, 'If we want to go quick, you go by yourself; if you wanna go far, we gotta all go together.' I think his leadership is meant for a time like this.
"I believe that, as much as he’s been through, especially about his house getting burned down because of racism and him being in an interracial marriage, and all those things. He’s been through this, he’s built for this. Doc is built for this. And I think Doc knows who he is more so than most coaches. He knows who he is as a black man, as a coach, and as a professional. I know he’ll do his job, but from a personal level, you best believe Doc is going to fight for what he believes is right."
Given previous reports about Sterling, Dooling said he was disgusted but not surprised by what he heard in the audio recordings.
"Two reactions: One, I was disgusted. Obviously, that kind of talk, in the private life or public life, I believe is unacceptable," said Dooling. "And then, two, I wasn’t surprised, because when people reveal who they are to you, it’s your duty to believe them or not. And he showed time and time again that he has beliefs that certain people are inferior to him. When you say things like that, you just have to be accountable for your words."