Sixers Coach Reveals How He Earned ‘Doc’ Nickname

Doc Rivers

Getty Doc Rivers was a talented point guard for the Atlanta Hawks before he got into coaching.

The legend of Glenn “Doc” Rivers continues to add fabled chapters with each passing year of his storied coaching career. Prior to tip-off in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Rivers revealed that his current players didn’t even know how he got his nickname.

The Philadelphia 76ers head coach was half-joking when telling the tale. He was describing how the younger guys on the team poke fun at the 59-year-old for not being able to jump. Rivers was quick to remind them that there was a time he was a pretty talented point guard, one who drew comparisons to Sixers legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving for his noticeable hops. And a signature T-shirt.

“They don’t believe that I could jump at all,” Rivers told reporters. “One of the young guys said that and I said, ‘You guys do know I’m named Doc, it’s not after a real doctor, it’s after a guy that used to be able to jump.’ They love giving it to me and God forbid they find old footage. They like that even more because when they do, I see it. Let me put it that way.”

The real story on how Rivers earned the nickname “Doc” traces its roots to Rivers’ college days at Marquette University. Rick Majerus was the coach there at the time and he pegged Rivers as “Doc” because he showed up to a basketball camp wearing a “Dr. J” shirt. That was it. The name stuck.

“I think there were 200 kids at this camp and he starts yelling for Doc,” Rivers said, via Sports Illustrated. “He’s pointing at me, but my name’s Glenn. And he keeps saying, ‘Doc, come down.’ Finally, I realize Doc was me.”

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Talented Player for Atlanta Hawks

Some people might forget that Rivers was a pretty darn good basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks in his prime. He still holds the franchise record for assists (3,866) and ranks third in steals (1,166). His 2,008 made free throws are 10th on the all-time list down there, too. The nostalgia factor may have faded over the years, but the former point guard still has love for “The Big Peach.”

“I had a really good career here, still lead ’em in assists, up there in steals,” Rivers said. “More importantly, I made a lot of friends here and a lot of them still live here.”

Rivers, who played eight seasons in Atlanta, added that he thinks about half of those friends are rooting for the Sixers in their best-of-seven playoff series. The hometown Hawks are back in the postseason for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

Keep Eyes on Kevin Huerter in Game 3

There is one player to keep an eye on off the Hawks bench in Game 3: Kevin Huerter. The former first-round pick burned the Sixers for 20 points in Game 2, right after dropping 15 points in Game 1.

He is now averaging 11.7 points per game while shooting 48.5% from three-point range in the playoffs. Rivers name-dropped Hurter, along with Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari, in his pre-game comments.

“Huerter upfront, just off of his last game,” Rivers said. “You always gotta focus on Gal and Lou Williams coming off the bench. Their bench has really hurt us with their scoring. What makes them so good is that they are just so deep, number one, but they’re also skilled. They can shoot and most of them can handle the ball which creates a lot of defensive problems.”

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