Last night former Boston head coach Doc Rivers returned to the Garden for the first time since leaving the team to coach the Los Angeles Clippers. You might think that the passionate Celtics crowd would boo Rivers, especially after he admitted that he walked out of the team, but Rivers was welcomed back with a standing ovation.
Rivers’ his gracious reception did not surprise him.
“It didn’t surprise me. You’ve got to live here to understand that. That’s just the way they are. It’s an amazing fan base. It really is. I just want everything to go well for them.”
The ovation during his introduction wasn’t all. Between the first and second quarters, a video tribute to Doc played to Dierks Bently’s “Home.” That did it. Rivers got emotional.
“Yeah, I’m still emotional,” he said. “I thought the fans were …”
And then he paused, fighting back tears.
Nearly 10 seconds of silence passed. Then he continued.
“It was just … a really nice day. It’s just such a classy place. Here. It was really nice when I walked out [before the game]. I’m not used to walking out that side, and all those [familiar] guys lined up, and I was basically useless for the first 18 minutes.
What a classy gesture by Boston and a fantastic way to show appreciation to the coach the helped restore Celtic Pride.
— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) December 12, 2013