Doc Rivers returned to TD Garden on Wednesday night. The former coach of the Celtics served as a co-chair of the Action for Boston Community Development’s Hoop Dreams charity event and spent the evening shaking hands, signing autographs and sharing stories about his time in Boston.
“It’s tough to leave the Celtics because it’s the Celtics,” Rivers said. “It was the best nine years of basketball that I’ve ever been a part of, but I also fell in love with the city. And, for me, the hardest part is leaving the city. I’ve met friends that have changed my life here, and they’ll always be my friends.”
Sitting a few rows behind the Celtics bench, Rivers shared some insight on his tenure with the Celtics.
Kevin Garnett served as a focal point of the discussion. Rivers lamented the fact that KG never let the city see his vivacious side.
“Fans never got to see Kevin’s personality,” Rivers said. “I wish the city got to know Kevin more. He’s the single best athlete that I’ve ever been around as far as being a team guy. He’s as ‘team’ of a star as I’ve ever seen. A lot of stars are stars, but he’s unselfish, to a fault at times, but every coach should be able to coach Kevin Garnett just to see what a true team player should be.”
Rivers agreed that Garnett is an atypical NBA superstar, as he is a pass-first player who relishes his role as a teammate.
“He did a lot of good things that people don’t know,” Rivers said. “When rookies came in, he would bring them up to my office. He’d sit them down, and then he would bring his tailor in and say, ‘If you want to be a pro, you’ve got to dress like a pro.’ And he would buy each rookie two suits, and he did it every year. To me, that says a lot about Kevin Garnett as a teammate.”
Rivers also admitted that Garnett has an interesting use of the English language.
“The word that starts with ‘f’? He thought it was a noun, verb and an adjective,” Rivers said.
Celtics fans may never have the opportunity to see Garnett reveal his personality, but he delighted the city with his Hall of Fame play for six seasons.
“He’s full of life and a great guy in the locker room,” Rivers said. “He’s so unselfish, I think he would have scored another 10,000 points if he wanted. He’s the only player I’ve ever yelled at for not shooting. He always felt like if he took three or four shots in a row, that was too many. He needed to share the ball.”