NBA coach press conferences might be the most entertaining of the major sports, although that’s certainly a low bar to clear. NFL coaches tend to be as tight-lipped as possible, and baseball managers do it 162 games a year, so it lends itself to more cliches just to get through the grind.
The NBA, though, has a much more diverse group of coaches, many of whom are more than willing to at least be somewhat entertaining, or speak their mind on issues beyond the basketball court.
Doc Rivers took the opportunity to tell a fantastic story about a time he purposefully tried to get ejected, for a very understandable reason:
Well if Doc gets thrown out tonight, you know why. ? pic.twitter.com/fUHjQgadO3
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 2, 2017
When I was coaching the Celtics, I think there was four games left in the season, and everything had been wrapped up as far as the playoffs. The Masters was on. And at halftime, Danny Ainge tells me that Tiger is making a run.
He said, “Get thrown out! Come back and watch it with me!”
So I go out, and it’s like the first play of the third quarter, I go for it, like yelling, (waves arms). And I want to say it was Jake O’Donnell, I’m not sure who it was, and he just stares at me. Nothing. And during the free throw he comes over and says “I want to watch it too.”
That’s a true story! And we just start laughing, it was great. Danny comes back, you know that little tunnel in Miami, and he’s like “What are you doing?”
That’s so, so good. It was probably the 2011 Masters, squarely in the middle of Doc’s time in Boston, which featured Tiger shooting 31 on the front nine on Sunday and briefly tying for the lead, though he eventually finished T4, four shots behind winner Charl Scwhartzel, who famously birdied the final four holes to win.
This kind of thing might actually happen more than we think it does. I remember reading a book by Jay Johnstone, the former major-league outfielder, who said he once had something else to do in spring training, I can’t remember what. A flight to catch, or a tee time, something like that. He was going to be cutting it close, so he semi-jokingly asked an ump in the field if he could get tossed early on. The umpire laughed and said they don’t do that kind of thing.
So Johnstone ended up on base early, and after a pickoff throw to first, he turned to the ump he’d talked to and said “Hey, that’s a balk!”
The ump immediately gave him the hook, shouting “You’re out of here!”
Anyway. I’ve always loved that story, and it was great to hear the flipside as well.
[h/t No Laying Up]