Long before Los Angeles Clippers point guard Lou Williams had his favorite wings from one of the country’s most famous adult entertainment venues – Magic City Gentleman’s Club – in Atlanta named after him, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers feared the popular establishment could cost him an NBA title.
Back in 2008, the Eastern Conference favorite Boston Celtics were matched up against the bottom-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the opening round’s best-of-7 series. After the Hawks surprisingly tied the series with a Game 4 win in Atlanta, the Celtics returned the favor with a landslide victory in Game 5.
But, when the series shifted back to Atlanta for Game 6 the Hawks shockingly tied the best-of-7, edging out the Celtics in a 103-100 win to force Game 7 at TD Garden. In Michael Holley’s newest book The Big Three: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, And The Rebirth Of The Boston Celtics, Holley uncovers the root of Rivers’ frustration with his team.
Doc Rivers On Losing Game 6 Vs. The Atlanta Hawks: ‘Magic City Is Kicking Our Ass Right Now’
It was more about what was happening off the floor, in Atlanta before his team actually faced the Hawks that left Doc fuming moments after the loss, according to Holley.
“Rivers was angry, and he gave the media a clue of how he felt when he said, “This city is tough to beat,'” Holley wrote. “He was more specific with his coaching staff:
“Atlanta and [notorious gentleman’s club] Magic City is kicking our ass right now. These guys are tired. They’re exhausted. They should have done away with Atlanta by now. They’re fucking around.”
Fortunately for Rivers, the brink of elimination was enough for his team to snap back into the series. As Holley alludes to in his book, by halftime everyone knew the Celtics were safe before they officially secured the series win in a 99-65 Game 7 rout.
2020: Lou Williams, Magic City & The Birth Of ‘LouWill Lemon Pepper’ Wings’
After the NBA resumed its regular season last summer in Orlando, the league’s strict health and safety protocols prohibited players from leaving The Bubble. Williams, however, on an excused absence by the Clippers, used the opportunity – after attending a family friend’s funeral viewing – to attend Magic City Gentleman’s Club for dinner before returning to his team in Florida.
The controversial move that was caught on video and released online caused an obvious stir due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and because, the Clippers, without one of its key players in Williams; struggled. But that didn’t stop the infamous Atlanta strip club to miss out on a brilliant marketing strategy; naming Lou’s favorite chicken wings – ‘LouWill Lemon Pepper BBQ’ wings – after him.
The released video, along with other issues such as teammates Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley, both, leaving the bubble for personal reasons, led to speculation that Los Angeles was a team in-flux. Either way, come playoff time, the Clippers couldn’t recapture the team it was before the COVID-19 stoppage.
Now, Rivers, who’s off to a new beginning in Philly, has led the Sixers to an impressive start (8-4) to the 2020-21 season.
He’s probably hoping also that maybe, just maybe, this will be the first team in nearly 20 years he coaches that doesn’t lose focus mid-season due to visiting Atlanta’s Magic City.