Doc Rivers Comments on Kobe Bryant’s Retirement, Facing Lakers Star in Playoffs

As far as retirement tours go, there's a typical decorum. You say nice things about a player, compliment his career and say you're going to miss competing against him—even if it's all a lie. This is how Kobe Bryant has gotten cheered in Boston, San Antonio and every stop on his retirement tour.  

Just don't expect Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers to play into the niceties. 

“Not at all, not at all,” Rivers said when asked if he'd miss going against Bryant, per Robert Morales of the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “I’ll be very happy when Kobe retires. He’s inflicted pain on me personally and so I’m looking forward to it. Everybody else is lying. They’re saying, like, they want Kobe to keep playing and that’s not true. The guy, he’s inflicted pain on all of us.”

Rivers, of course, was on the losing end of a 2010 NBA Finals matchup against Bryant's Lakers as the coach of the Boston Celtics. Bryant was named series MVP and scored 23 points in the Lakers' Game 7 victory. It was Bryant's fifth (and final) NBA championship and helped him even his Finals record against the Celtics to 1-1.

Rivers said jokingly:

Something happened in 2010, I don’t remember what happened there. I just remember how hard he was every night. I mean, he was just tough, physically. I thought both of those series, the mental part of Kobe is what stood out. We knew the talent. But I don’t think you really know a player until you coach him or coach against him in the playoffs, and it told me a lot.

Rivers' tone remained jovial throughout the interview. The Clippers coach went on to call Bryant's career "remarkable" and noted the game will miss having someone of his talent level. But it's nice to see someone actually walk away from the typical blithe answer and give his actual opinion.

Bryant, never one to shy ...

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