When Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers traded for Austin Rivers in 2015, he became the first son to play for his father in the NBA. The natural assumption was that Doc favoring his child, but when asked about playing for his father, Austin said that his bond with Doc isn’t as close as people think—it’s purely about the sport.
Doc was busy coaching when Austin was growing up, and that impacted the connection between the two. From Arash Markazi of ESPN:
“He doesn’t really share his life outside of basketball with me,” Austin said. “He and I don’t know each other like that. We know each other as strictly basketball. A lot of people on the outside don’t understand that because people think we have a relationship like every other father and son. We just don’t. That’s because he’s been gone my whole life, and that’s fine.
“It’s worked out for the both of us. But the one person he could always really be with was his mom. That’s the toughest thing I’ve ever seen him go through; more than the Sterling stuff and even when his dad passed away. His mom was everything to him. I’ve never seen him like that.”
Doc’s mother Bettye died last June. When asked by a reporter after Wednesday’s Game 5 loss about who to lean on with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin out, Doc started to cry and said that the question reminded him of his mother.