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Doc Rivers on Clippers watching Kings’ banner night: ‘We tasted it’

Kings banner
Kings players watch as the NHL championship banner is raised to the rafters at Staples Center on Wednesday night.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Doc Rivers got a suite at Staples Center on Wednesday for the Clippers to watch the Kings raise their Stanley Cup championship banner.

He wanted the players to visualize that it was they who had just won a title. Apparently it worked.

“We tasted it,” Rivers said.

Rivers got the championship visualization idea from a former coach of his, Pat Riley. He said that when he was a player, Riley made him and his New York Knicks teammates visualize the trophy.

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“It had an impact on you,” Rivers said.

Before the banner was raised, the Kings showed a video of the players enjoying the Stanley Cup, taking it on various adventures with them around the world.

Rivers said that when he coached the Boston Celtics to the NBA championship in 2008, his players too had some special moments with the Larry O’Brien trophy.

“Ray [Allen] had it as the centerpiece of his wedding,” Rivers said. “During the wedding, there was a big trophy sitting there and people didn’t really want to see the wedding, they wanted to see the trophy afterward.”

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Rivers acknowledged that he and “O’Brien” had a memorable moment as well.

“I took it to a golf tournament and had it on the plane seat next to me,” he said. “I bought a first-class seat for the trophy and it was cool because the people in Boston printed out a ticket and they named the seat next to me Larry O’Brien.”

Rivers hopes that the Clippers players will have their own stories to tell very soon. The visualization technique definitely whetted Spencer Hawes’ championship appetite.

“When you’re that close to it, it makes you want it even more,” Hawes said.


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