I don't know what you're going to do. You might not know what you're going to do yet either. But, at the risk of peppering this site with a ton of post-season "thank yous"… I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks.
I haven't agreed with all of your decisions. But shit, I haven't agreed with all of my own decisions, either. Such is life, I guess.
But the fact remains that you have proven yourself to be a damn good coach. Maybe it's because you used to be a pretty good point guard and you know what it takes to run a team. But I think it's more than that.
You get it. You can sit there and take a guy like Kevin Garnett… and intensely obstinate superstar… and reach him in ways others can't. You can break that wall of curses and chest thumping. And I don't say it in a way to imply Garnett is bad. He just gets into a zone. But you can reach him in that Matrix.
And that's impressive. Being an NBA coach is a different kinda thing. Managing personalities is probably the most important part of the game. What are you going to teach Ray Allen about the game of basketball? Or Paul Pierce? The teaching is minimal in the NBA. Most of the teaching is simply where to go in your offensive and defensive schemes.
It shows when you talk after games. Every once in a while you'll be pissed… and we'll know you mean it because most of the time you're so measured. When fans want you to curse and scream, you are calm. And calmness in the face of adversity is one of the signs of a true leader.
Where once people chanted for your job, you are now being applauded as you leave a post-Finals loss news conference. You've come a long way, Doc. Or maybe it's us that have come a long way. Maybe you've been the same guy all along and it's us fans that have grown to appreciate and fully grasp who you are.
Whatever it is, I'm glad we've gotten to this point. I want you back. I think most of us want you back. But if you go, I'll just hope I get a chance to shake your hand and say what I've written to your face. Because unlike most sports figures who lie through their teeth when they say "I want to spend more time with my family" only to enter into ventures that allow anything but that time… I believe you when you say it.
So thanks, Coach Rivers. It's been a fun, crazy ride.