Like so many Bostonians, yesterday was an eventful day for Doc Rivers. The head coach lives a few blocks away from the Boston Marathon finish line and was heading home from practice yesterday afternoon for an annual Patriot’s Day ritual. e had planned to head to the finish line and take in what is usually a terrific display of athletic accomplishment. Those plans changed though, as Rivers witnessed the aftermath of the senseless bombings first hand.
Today, at practice in Waltham, all of the questions for Doc were about yesterday’s tragic event. He walked us through his scary day, and spoke proudly about his city.
Q: Doc, what was your reaction to the day’s events?
“It was just horrible. Living right there, it was an awful day. A sad day. I always go down after practice and watch, I’ve done it every year we are in town, since I live a couple blocks from the finish line. I was on my way actually. I had just gotten out of the Prudential tunnel when the bomb exploded. It’s just awful. It takes the joy out of sports, that’s what sports is supposed to bring is joy, and it took all of the joy out of the event and the day. It was a long day for everyone.
“Being in the city, the one thing I will say is you are really proud to be a part of Boston. I saw people volunteering to direct traffic, showing people where to go, I just thought the spirit of Boston was phenomenal last night. In a tragic event, it either separates you or brings you together and it clearly brought the city of Boston together, which was awesome.”
Q: What do you think of the decision to cancel the game?
“I didn’t want to play the game. We made that clear. The ownership was great. It wasn’t the right place to play a game of basketball today. No one would have been into it. No one would have wanted to go to it. Honestly, we want to make sure there are so many people doing so many things right now in the city today. Their focus is there and that’s where it should stay and not on a basketball game. This had nothing to do with safety, it was more, what was right.
Q: What did you see when you were driving home, right after the bombings occurred?
“It was right at the time. You know, obviously I didn’t hear or see anything. You just saw the people running and the ambulances. It was hysteria. I didn’t know what was going on. I turned the radio on and you find out what had just happened. From there, I was trying to get home, that’s all I was trying to do from there.
Q: How tough is it now, to move forward with a game in the next 24 hours and try to put this event out of your mind?
“I don’t think you should get it out of your mind. I don’t think anyone will get it out of their minds. It will be on your mind. Whether you were there or not, you are a part of Boston. If you’re part of the city or this country, it’s something that will be on your mind. That’s fine. You put things into compartments. It was a sad day yesterday and it’s a sad day today too. That’s part of life. Life comes into play.
Q: Have you talked to the Celtics players about it?
“I will talk to the guys about it a bit. I’ve talked to a few individually.”
Q: You’ve been a long-standing resident of this city now. What’s your reaction knowing that, and how do you think Boston will respond?
“The city has responded. It was awesome watching people help people. Helping people walk and go to the right places. This city has a tremendous amount of spirit and it was shown last night and today still. You’re angry too though. I think that starts now, especially when you keep thinking about it. It makes you very angry about what happened, because you love your city and where you’re at. So that bothers you.
Q: Was it tough getting in touch with your family?
“My daughter called or texted 16 times in a row, but you couldn’t get to them. I’m sure that happened throughout the city yesterday. Those people had a tough little period.”
Q: Were you concerned while it was going on?
“I live in a hotel, so you’re very concerned. I was there, so there was nothing you could do about it. They told us to stay inside.”
Q: Did other people around the NBA get in touch with you?
“Yeah, got a lot of texts from your friends. Thibs and Lawrence Frank called and texted a lot of times. You know, just because you don’t live here anymore, they’re still a part of this. They felt for everybody.”
Q: Things will hopefully be getting back to normal when you guys return from Toronto…
“I think that’s what our city wants. You can hear the police commissioner today talking about that, we want to return things as soon as possible, back to normal. That tells whoever did this, you don’t stop the spirit of Boston. We’re going to be back, we’re going to work the same, we’re going to play the same, do things the same and there’s nothing you can do to stop us from doing this. Next year, the marathon will be bigger and better, and you’re not going to stop us. I thought of all messages, the police commissioner said that, and I believe that’s a fact.”