As Doc Rivers leads one of the best and brightest teams in all of the NBA, it’s worth noting that he was almost never in this position in the first place.
In a feature this week by Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times on the job stress of NBA head coaches, the LA Clippers coach discussed how he nearly quit coaching three winters ago due to the toll the job was taking on his health.
“It was awful,” Rivers said in the piece. “That was a tough stretch. I almost thought about quitting because I had no energy. … And I thought it definitely affected my day-to-day ability to coach — and to live. You’re always tired. This job is tiring. Then you’re sick on top of it. I didn’t do any favors for myself.”
Woike adds that Rivers, who was eventually diagnosed with a parasite, was throwing up constantly, losing weight and needed IVs before coaching. However, the former Coach of the Year did not quit and powered through the health scare without even so much as a leave of absence.
Three winters ago would put that timeline in the middle of the 2016-17 season, the last year of the Clippers’ Lob City era as well as the last year of Rivers serving as both head coach and president of basketball operations.
Rivers has since led the Clippers to a 42-win season in 2017-18, 48 wins and a return to the playoffs in 2018-19, and now a 16-7 start to 2019-20 with star duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George headlining the show. However, the strain on NBA head coaches remains a serious league-wide issue and one that a top assistant of Rivers’ was also felled by in the past.
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