Clippers Coach Doc Rivers impressed by Barack Obama’s humility and grace

President Obama acknowledges the crowd during his farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago on Jan. 10.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

Doc Rivers was saddened by the end of President Barack Obama’s eight-year run in the White House, and not only because Obama was the first African-American — and probably the biggest basketball fan — to occupy the Oval Office.

“Forget all the things that he did — what stands out to me with the president is his humility,” the Clippers coach said Thursday. “We talk about that a lot in the locker room. I think the only way you can be a great team and a great individual is you have to have a sense of humility about you.

“You should also have great confidence, but his grace and humility is what stands out. I thought he was in it right from the start. A lot of people didn’t want him to be successful, and he never complained about that. He just kept doing his job. It’s a great example of what our players have to do every day.”

Though President George W. Bush was in office when Rivers visited the White House with his 2007-2008 Boston Celtics championship team, Rivers has spoken to Obama several times. They share Chicago roots and a love of basketball.


“He’s meant a lot to the league,” Rivers said. “I appreciate how much he loved our game. He’s befriended Chris [Paul] and [Stephen] Curry and LeBron [James] and all these guys. They’ve actually had a chance to spend time with him. To spend time with a guy like that, who he is, I think has really helped our league in a big way. It’s helped our league grow up, and that’s been good.”

Calling Jamal

Austin Rivers and Raymond Felton will share point-guard duties in place of Paul, who will be sidelined for six to eight weeks because of thumb surgery. But to help fill Paul’s scoring void, the Clippers need reserve guard Jamal Crawford to break out of his funk.

“He’s been struggling,” Doc Rivers said. “We couldn’t ask more of Raymond and Austin, they’ve been fantastic at both ends. And Jamal is going to be good for us again. We just have to get him going now, sooner than later.”

Crawford, a 17-year veteran, entered Thursday with 17,574 points, good for 80th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, and an 11.6-point scoring average this season. But in his previous five games he scored 22 points on nine-of-45 shooting and made only one of 12 three-point attempts.

“He’s just not making shots,” Rivers said. “It’s not that hard, but when you start missing shots you lose your confidence a little bit. But he’ll be back. He’s a scorer. He’s scored a lot of points in his career, so he’ll be good.”



Paul finished fifth among Western Conference guards and DeAndre Jordan placed 10th among front-court players in All-Star voting by players, media and fans. Reserves for the Feb. 19 game in New Orleans will be announced next Thursday.