Doc Rivers Keeps ‘Emotional Energy’ With Celtics, Boston Forever

BOSTON — Doc Rivers was the last head coach to lead a Celtics team to an NBA Finals championship (in 2008), and the attachment to the city hasn’t faded away, even after 11 years after departing.

Even though Rivers bailed on Boston’s rebuild for the Los Angeles sunshine in 2013, the 2008 NBA Finals banner will always hang in the TD Garden rafters. Nothing can take that away. Therefore, despite a handful of stops with the Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and now the Milwaukee Bucks, Rivers hasn’t lost the everlasting heartfelt attachment to Boston.

“I was here for nine years, we won a title, we went to the finals twice,” Rivers said before Wednesday night’s matchup against the Celtics at TD Garden. “My emotional energy will always be here. This is another home for me. I come here in the summer and spend time and go to the vineyard. I feel like a Bostonian when I do that, and that will never go away.”

Rivers arrived in Boston in 2007, taking over at the helm for a Celtics team that went an abysmal 24-58 to sit rock bottom in the Eastern Conference. Questions surrounding Rivers as the right fit began to arise, and disappeared even more quickly a year later when Boston defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals.

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That cemented the legacy of Rivers in Boston. With a championship came grandfathered respect that couldn’t disappear, even if Rivers didn’t deem the team worth standing by through a rebuild that’s surpassed him in less than half a decade’s worth of time.

Rivers still has loads of love for those within the organization, which spans far beyond just the players, ownership and Boston’s front office.

“I’m not removed from it when I get to the building,” Rivers explained. “When you walk in the building and you see all the people that you know, your friends are still your friends here. They don’t go away — at least hopefully. And then you just have special relationships with people here. That’s the part that people don’t get, that will never go away. Your connection to those people never leaves.”

The boos from Boston’s home crowd have decreased each time Rivers returns to coach a Celtics foe. Last season, Boston eliminated the Rivers-led 76ers in the East semifinals round, and now at the helm for the Bucks, Rivers and the Celtics could easily cross paths yet again.

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