Doc or Glenn? Sixers’ new coach answers Zumoff’s big question originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
There’s another Doc in Philadelphia, and he was introduced Monday as the Sixers’ new head coach.
On NBC Sports Philadelphia’s telecasts, though, Brett Brown’s replacement will still be known as Glenn Rivers. He thinks that’s the way it should be.
“I’m Glenn with you and I’m fine with that, because I actually agree with that,” Rivers said Monday in an interview with longtime broadcaster Marc Zumoff, who’s always referred to the 58-year-old by his birth name. “There’s only one Doc in town.”
Rivers, an NBA point guard for 13 seasons and a head coach for 21, recalled to Zumoff his first meeting with Hall of Famer Julius Erving. “Dr. J” was of course one of the stars when the Sixers last won an NBA championship in 1983.
“First of all, I was nervous,” Rivers said. “I was embarrassed. We go up to the circle, you know, the starting lineup. I had never met Dr. J. So I walk up to him and I put my hand out and say, ‘Hey, Mr. Erving, Dr. J, Glenn Rivers.’ And he says, ‘Doc Rivers.’ And for me that was really cool that he did that, because it just showed the class of Julius — as you know, one of the classier men in the world.”
How did Glenn become “Doc” in the first place?
Here’s Rivers’ telling of the origin story:
“I got the nickname at a basketball camp at Marquette. I think I was a sophomore or freshman in high school — it might have been even earlier. (Former Marquette head coach) Al McGuire and (former Marquette assistant coach) Rick Majerus were checking me into their basketball camp, and after I check in I walk away and Rick Majerus tells Al McGuire, ‘That kid is really good.’ And I had a Dr. J T-shirt on. So at the end of the week, the Milwaukee Bucks came in to play a basketball game in front of the campers, and they only had nine players and they needed a 10th.
“And Al McGuire walks up to the stands — I think there were 200 kids at this camp — and he starts yelling for Doc. He’s pointing at me, but my name’s Glenn. And he keeps saying, ‘Doc, come down.’ Finally, I realize Doc was me. I walk down, I got the great opportunity to play with the Milwaukee Bucks. I actually got a steal and a dunk. And all the kids start yelling, ‘Doc, Doc.’ From that day on, that’s been my name.”