Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers cleared the air once and for all in a joking statement about his misleading nickname: No, I am not a real doctor.
On Monday night, the Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Golden State Warriors, and what could have been a season sweep of the Bay Area side ended in a hard-knock defeat. Barring the late-game heroics of Warriors magic man Stephen Curry, the Sixers struggled offensively in the second half of the game and didn’t look like a team that was “damn near unbeatable,” as MVP contender Joel Embiid told NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith in a recent interview.
Part of the reason might have been the absence of star guard Ben Simmons. Following the Sixers’ home loss, Rivers was asked about Simmons’ health status after he was recently diagnosed with a non-COVID related illness. Rivers’ response couldn’t have been better:
The former Atlanta Hawks guard’s legal name is actually Glenn Anton Rivers (because the only parents who would legally christen their child “Doc” are probably whoever gave birth to the seven dwarfs). The nickname was given to him by the late college basketball coach Rick Majerus in the 1980s, and turns out it has nothing to do with practicing medicine.
Rivers played three years of college hoops under Majerus for Marquette University, and one summer camp, he showed up in a “Dr. J” T-shirt. Someone started calling him it, the nickname stuck, and Rivers has even gotten the approval of Julius Erving himself.
Little did you know: Sixers coach Doc Rivers isn’t an actual doctor
And let’s be honest, the name is a bit catchier than “Glenn.”
Rivers has since enjoyed illustrious coaching careers with several NBA teams. At the Orlando Magic, he almost succeeded in assembling a “Big Three” team consisting of Tim Duncan, Grant Hill and Tim McGrady. Rivers then won his first championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and developed a practical coaching style that made players like Brian Scalabrine look good. He most recently helmed the LA Clippers, where he lost to the Denver Nuggets in the 2020 Western Conference semifinals.
Not-so-fun fact: After that loss, Rivers became the first NBA coach with three teams who failed to advance from a playoff series after taking a 3-1 lead. If you’re a Sixers fan, you might be a teeny bit worried.
In any case, Rivers and the Sixers will face the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, and it’s still unclear as to whether Ben Simmons will be healthy enough for the game. Don’t ask Doc about it, though; it might be better left to the real medical professionals.