- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce say they feel for what their former coach, Doc Rivers, is going through now as he tries to navigate the Clippers through unprecedented controversy.
“Definitely, it’s a tough situation,” Pierce said. “Your owner is labeled as a racist. You’re a head black coach, head president. It’s a tough situation to work for somebody like that so it’s hard to be in that situation this time of the year, so much on the line.
“But I know Doc is very headstrong and he’ll work it out.”
Garnett said he has sent his support to Rivers.
“I think it’s important for obviously players to be unified,” Garnett said. “The Sterlings of the world obviously exist. Sports brings cultures together. We need to focus on that.
“If any coach can deal with it, he can,” Garnett added. “Doc is one of the most resilient coaches I’ve ever played for. Not just helped me out as a player but helped me out as a young man, helped me as a better father and a better person. I hope that he is able to spread some of that to his players and his organization.”
As things have turned out, Garnett might be glad he didn’t end up a Clipper last summer.
Garnett was mentioned in a potential side deal to Rivers’ pact to join the Clippers last year. In the end, only Rivers ended up with the Clippers while former Celtics Garnett and Pierce became Brooklyn Nets.
Garnett was asked if he would’ve wanted to become a Clipper and follow Rivers knowing what he knows now about owner Donald Sterling, who was banned for life by NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday.
“I’m a Net,” Garnett said after Nets practice. “I don’t focus on almost. In high school, I never dealt with the chick that almost wanted to go out with me.”