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Austin Rivers opens up on Doc Rivers’ important message at tense meeting

Austin Rivers, Rockets, Doc Rivers, Clippers

Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers and his father, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, are one of the few family tandems (along with the Antetokounmpo and Lopez brothers) of active NBA employees still competing in the bubble.

According to Austin, the only time he has seen Doc in person (outside of attending a few games) came during the tense meeting on Aug. 26 after the Milwaukee Bucks opted against playing to protest racial injustice. Before coaches were asked to leave, Doc Rivers addressed the room — allowing his son to witness firsthand the leading voice Doc has become.

Austin reflected on the moment in an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic:

“I got to sit back and see the leadership role that my dad has in this league, with him being one of the main voices in that meeting. You kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow,’ you know what I mean? I got to grow up with that and that’s why I probably have the knowledge I have — well, I’ll give my mom (Kristen Rivers) most of the credit, but both of them.”

Austin Rivers said his dad’s main message was “understanding the moment, and what’s going on right now in time,” and he also stressed the importance of voting:

“He said players his age would’ve wished they could have a moment like this. He was just talking about how 20 percent of us voted…He said, ‘That’s just not good enough, and we’ve got to be better.’ It’s stuff that is all important…It was a great meeting, to experience that with my peers. A lot of these guys are my really good friends, and obviously my father, was, like you said, a special thing.”

Doc, who was raised by a police officer on the South Side of Chicago, has spoken passionately about racial injustice and continued police brutality against Black people. His press conference in the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting encapsulated the exhaustion and frustration felt by so many in the NBA community who are trying to balance bubble life, playoff basketball, and fighting racial injustice.

In 2014, Doc become the leading voice of reason for his team after the racist recordings from disgraced former Clippers owner Donald Sterling were made public and the team considered how to respond.

Austin Rivers clearly appreciates his dad’s actions, and there’s a chance they face each other in the bubble in the Western Conference Finals.