Doc Rivers’ message to Clippers immediately after Donald Sterling tapes leaked
On April 25, 2014, TMZ released the racist recordings of then-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
The Clippers had Game 4 of their first-round series against the Golden State Warriors coming up on Sunday in Oakland.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers recently recalled to TNT’s Ernie Johnson the hours following the release of the tapes, with Rivers saying he “knew it was a big deal” at the time. Rivers took an hour to put his shirt on, unsure whether to don Clippers attire:
“I walk into the meeting, and of course none of the players had their shirts on,” Rivers said. “And they didn’t want to hear me … I remember stopping and I remember saying these words: ‘Guys, I want to remind you of something. My name is Glen Rivers. I’m from Chicago, and I’m black. And I’m pissed. And our owner’s a racist. And I don’t want to do anything for this man. But, when I grew up, and I had this dream of winning a world championship, Donald Sterling was never in that dream. And I am not going to allow him to get in the way of something that I’ve wanted since I was a child. He shouldn’t have a part of this.'”
Rivers told his Clippers players that if they decided not to play, “let it not be because of this … racist guy.”
Rivers added that any public comments he got credit for during that situation likely originated from the Clippers players in the locker room.
The coach says his comments “turned the room,” and the Clippers took the Oracle Arena floor with their shirts inside-out to hide the team logo. They lost that game, 118-97, but ultimately topped Golden State in seven games.
Doc Rivers in meeting with Clippers after Sterling tapes leaked- "Our owner's a racist. I don't want to do anything for this man, but when I grew up & had this dream of winning a championship, Donald Sterling was never in that dream. I am not gonna allow him to get in the way.” pic.twitter.com/OsrzGj8C0K
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) May 19, 2020
Sterling, of course, would be banned from the NBA for life by Adam Silver before Game 5 took place. Steve Ballmer then bought the Clippers, and he has them in a great spot.