BOSTON (CBS) — Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers was overcome with emotion as he discussed Kobe Byrant’s Sunday. Rivers, currently the Clippers head coach, spoke before the team’s game.
Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among nine killed Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He was 41.
“I don’t know,” Rivers said after a long pause. “You know I just don’t have a lot to say. The news is just devastating to everybody who knew him, who’ve known him a long time. He means a lot to me obviously, he was such a great opponent. That’s what you want in sports. He had that DNA that very few athletes can ever have, you know the Tiger Woods and the Michael Jordans.”
Rivers said he was getting to know Bryant better since he retired from the Lakers in 2016.
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“There’s just so many people he touched. Looking at my young players and seeing how emotional they are — they didn’t even know him — it just tells you how far his reach was. This is just shocking news for all of us.”
He was emotional once more when he said, “I have to go talk to a team before a game and tell them to go play a game.”
Rivers was the head coach for the Celtics from 2004 to 2013. The Celtics beat the Lakers to win the 2008 NBA Finals.