If you were handcrafting a head coach candidate to be someone Lakers fans would hate, there’d be a number of qualities they would need to have.
For one, they’d have to have a connection to the Boston Celtics, the team’s long-hated rivals. Bonus points if they won a championship in Boston, and further points if it came against the Los Angeles Lakers. Repeated match-ups with the Lakers in the Finals are a points multiplier.
Perhaps they’d also have a connection to the Los Angeles Clippers, the annoying little brother that has grown up and started pounding his chest and flexing his muscle without much substance to their braggadocio, but remains a nuisance nonetheless.
Plus, with the foundation of the Lakers built on winning titles and for an organization desperately chasing its 18th to pass the Celtics, you’d have to pick someone with a history of failing in the playoffs. Like really big blowups. Maybe a bunch of blown 3-1 leads.
Lastly, it would have to be someone who has a history of making negative comments about the Lakers as well. No better way to annoy a fanbase than constantly trolling them from the outside looking in.
Add that all up and you have concocted the perfect candidate that effectively no Lakers fan could possibly stomach or want as the team’s next head coach.
Or, in short, you’ve invented Doc Rivers.
Rivers has long been the bane of Lakers fan’s existence. But despite a laundry list of playoff shortcomings and failures, he has emerged as one of the early favorites for the team’s head coach opening. While a report from Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggested the interest is more on Rivers’ end than the Lakers’ so far — something Rivers himself has pushed back on, on the record — it’s still close enough of a connection to be uncomfortable with.
So in case you — or Lakers ownership — have forgotten about how much Rivers like to talk trash about the Lakers, and why so many view him as a non-starter option as head coach, here’s a reminder of some of his most notable potshots.
- Let’s start off hot with the quote that Lakers fans likely most remember — and mock — Doc for. Back in August of 2010, fresh off losing the Finals to the Lakers in an iconic 7-game series, Rivers had these infamous words to say about the series in a radio interview with ESPN 980 in Washington, D.C.
“They still have not beaten our starting five. Our starting five against the Lakers’ starting five has a ring. . . . We will be back strong and Perk will be there next year if there’s a game seven.”
I would encourage readers to go take a look at the linked article above from Silver Screen and Roll forefather Dexter Fishmore — aptly titled “STFU, Doc Rivers” — for all the reasons that Rivers’ statement is hilarious and wrong, but my favorite reason is that Andrew Bynum did not play in that 2008 series in which Doc claims he won a ring over the Lakers’ chosen starting five.
- Before the 2013 season, it was Doc, now leading the Clippers, who helped broach the idea of covering up the Lakers banners with selfies. But he claims he didn’t mean it as any disrespect at least.
- Back in 2019, when he was still coaching the Clippers, Doc took offense to the Lakers claiming titles won in Minnesota when they were the Minneapolis Lakers. He brought that up in response to a question about Los Angeles being a Lakers town. If you’re wondering how those two topics are related, so am I.
- During the 2019-20 season, Doc Rivers joked that, unlike Kawhi Leonard — who definitely doesn’t control when he does and doesn’t play, and has zero control whatsoever over the Clippers — the Lakers resting philosophy was “whatever LeBron says it is.”
- There was also the time in the summer of 2020, when he appeared on his son Austin’s podcast and the two began discussing Doc’s tampering fine for talking about Kawhi before he was on the team.
For the record, it had nothing to do with the Lakers, but Austin blamed Lakers fans for pressuring the league into fining Doc for tampering, which he did. Doc nodded along in approval while Austin spoke, and then agreed that Lakers fans put the pressure on the league. Unfortunately for Doc, this extremely convincing and very legitimate case did not get his fine rescinded.
Are there moments and quotes we’re forgetting? Let us know down in the comments to make sure we add them and have a comprehensive list. And, hopefully, this will be a more compelling case than the one Doc made against his tampering fine, which is a low bar.