Matt Nagy stated recently that the Chicago Bears have worked hard to find ways to keep their players focused and motivated during such a difficult time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One way they’ve done that? Guest speakers. The Bears have invited quite a few names to talk with players and coaches about their own experiences. A lot of “Hall of Famers” from other sports as GM Ryan Pace put it. When asked though, both men chose to keep the identities of said speakers a secret. However, details were bound to come out eventually. One such speaker was none other than Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.
Anybody who follows the sport of basketball knows his name. Rivers is 12th all-time in wins for an NBA head coach. He was Coach of the Year in 2000 and won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008. Before all that? He was an All-Star with the Atlanta Hawks in 1988 and was a notorious antagonist of the Chicago Bulls when he played for the New York Knicks in the early 1990s.
The guy has always been involved with winning. Apparently his appearance with the Bears was met with universal praise according to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times..
“I’ve heard a lot of people talk to groups and Doc, to me, not to take anything away from anybody else, but that was one of the most powerful hour-and-15-minute discussions that I had selfishly for myself and we had as a team,” Nagy said. “Man, there was so much good stuff in there. A lot of the stuff I don’t even want to tell because I don’t want other people to know.”
Doc Rivers can sympathize with Matt Nagy as a coach
If anybody understands the position Nagy is in, it’s Rivers. When he started his rise to legend in Boston, he made the playoffs his first year. Sadly they lost a heartbreaking seven-game series to Indiana. After that, the Celtics failed to make the playoffs the next two seasons. Quite a similar experience for Nagy in Chicago, going 12-4 that first year only to regress last season. So it makes sense Rivers would strike a cord with the Bears head coach.
So what exactly did he talk about?
“Doc Rivers told the Bears about the time he scored 54 points in a high school game, only to have his father push him to play even harder. How in 2007 he arranged a Duck Boat tour of Boston for Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Garnett soon after the Celtics’ superstar trio was formed — an outing he used to have the trio envision traveling the same route the following summer during a championship parade.
Bears players wanted to know about Kawhi Leonard’s leadership style. He’s quiet, Rivers told them, but became more vocal as the season went on.”
It’s clear the Bears players took a lot from what Rivers had to say. This is a team still stinging from last season. They want to win. Rivers not just being a successful coach but a successful black coach undoubtedly connected to a roster that features a majority of African-Americans. It is nice to see the team is doing everything possible to get ready for this season.