Playoff teams are supposed to deal with adversity, it's the nature of the beast. Road games in hostile environments, the bright media spotlight, players trying to be the "hero," or buzzer-beater losses.
If Doc Rivers was asked if he ever thought he'd wake up to hear comments like Donald Sterling's about African-American fans in his stadium this morning he would have laughed and waked away. Sadly, Donald Sterling's alleged comments about African-Americans attending his games could be the most difficult adversity Rivers will have to deal with as a basketball coach.
While the comments by Sterling were directed at African-Americans, it was felt by more than just African-American fans. Players on the Los Angeles Clippers, whether they are black or not, felt the brunt of this comment.
Doc Rivers: "JJ Redick was just pissed as Chris Paul." Clippers talked it out in pre practice meeting. Boycotting brought up. Doc against it— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) April 26, 2014
Doc Rivers does not want to allow this to get to the team or ruin their playoff run, however, how difficult is it going to be for this team to play hard when they know their success is going to line the pockets of their bigot owner? Could this situation galvanize the team? Could this be the real-life version of the movie "Major League", when a fictional Cleveland Indians team won in spite of it's horrible owner?
Tonight at 8:30 new NBA commissioner Adam Silver will host a press conference regarding the investigation into Sterling's comments. This could have a big bearing on how the Clippers' players deal with this. If Silver is outspoken and comes to the defense of the the African-Americans who have paid good money to watch the Clippers play, it could go a long way in making sure the Clippers play to beat the Golden State Warriors.
The Clippers players decided to not discuss Sterling's comments with the media, forcing Doc Rivers to be out in front of all of this.
On why LAC players declined questions on Donald Sterling, a player said: "We are trying to focus, that's all. We wanted Doc to talk for us."— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) April 26, 2014
Boston Celtics fans know that Doc Rivers might be the perfect coach for this type of adversity. Earlier this season he said that this Clippers team might be the best he's ever coached. Now they get a little more pressure piled on them.
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