Glenn Anton “Doc” Rivers won his 1,000th game as an NBA head coach on Saturday, Nov. 6. Doc is in his second season as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers and his 23rd overall as a head coach.
Rivers joined Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens, Gregg Popovich, Jerry Sloan, Pat Riley, George Karl, Phil Jackson, Larry Brown, and Rick Adelman in the exclusive 1,000-win club. Doc has won at least half his games in all but three of his 23 seasons as an NBA coach.
No doubt this milestone, along with the 76ers’ hot start to the season, was a great moment as the team continues to move forward without point guard Ben Simmons.
Following the win Rivers said, “Feels like a lot of wins. It means I have a lot of great players around me, and a great staff.”
goodnight Sixers twitter! hope your Saturday night was just as fun as ours! pic.twitter.com/tPlanqFdQj
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 7, 2021
Rivers’ tenure as an NBA head coach has been filled with its super highs and some very low lows.
It began in Orlando as head coach of the Magic. He won coach of the year in his first season. The team made the playoffs the next three seasons under Rivers. The Magic almost signed prime Tim Duncan in free agency in 2000. They couldn’t complete the deal due to Rivers’ airplane policy forbidding family members to board team flights.
The Magic fired Rivers in 2003, and after a year off he was hired by the Boston Celtics.
His tenure in Boston started out rough. The Celtics missed the playoffs in two of his first three seasons. But then they won the NBA title in his fourth year, led by the “Big Three” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen.
Rivers moved on to the Los Angeles Clippers after nine seasons in Boston. He immediately turned a middling franchise into a perennial playoff team and contender in the Western Conference.
But perhaps his greatest coaching job came in the wake of the Donald Sterling controversy.
During his first season in Los Angeles, Rivers led the team to the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. But the first round of the playoffs were overshadowed by leaked audio of then-team owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks.
The team, led by Chris Paul, was poised to boycott games and potentially forfeit the series if Sterling wasn’t removed. Rivers kept the team together and focused, ultimately winning their first round series against the Golden State Warriors.
In his final season with the Clippers, the team was up 3-1 in their conference semifinals series against the Denver Nuggets. The Clippers blew that lead and failed to make the franchise’s first trip to the conference finals.
Rivers became the first coach in NBA history with three teams who failed to advance from a best-of-seven series after taking a 3–1 lead.
Last season Rivers took over as head coach of the 76ers. They were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference but failed to advance to the conference finals, due in large part to Simmons’ poor play. A fact noted by Rivers after the team’s semifinal series loss to the Atlanta Hawks. After empowering Simmons to not shoot the ball all season, Rivers seemingly turned on him when he didn’t shoot in the most crucial moments.
Doc Rivers has had quite a career over 23 seasons. He’s certainly one of the better coaches in NBA history. He has his issues, and is certainly not perfect. But if you’ve had Doc Rivers on your sideline over the past 23 years, you’ve won more games than you lost.