In this episode of I AM RAPAPORT, Michael Rapaport chats with Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers about everything from rap and his NBA dream team to which of his coaches had the most irritating voice.
Choosing his top five MCs wasn’t easy, but Rivers decided on “Jay Z, Andre 3000, Eminem, Lil Wayne and Kanye West,” but picking his top NBA stars brought even more excitement.
“[Definitely] Michael Jordan. You’d get crucified if he isn’t in the [top] five,” said Rivers. “Tough to say [this one] because I’m still playing against the guy, but, LeBron James. You’ve got to put him in the five, what he can do is amazing.”
Rivers mentioned Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan in his top five also, but assembling his ideal starting lineup was when things took off.
“As far as my starting lineup goes for my All-NBA team would be,” said Rivers. “I’m going with John Stockton at the one, Mike [Jordan] at the two, LeBron [James] at the three and Dirk [Nowitzki] at the four.”
Rivers, as a former Duke Blue Devil, doesn’t follow his team’s former rivalry against the 2017 NCAA Tournament winners UNC because ‘half of us almost went to the other school.’
“I almost went to Carolina — half of us almost went [there]. But once you go [to your school], that’s where you’ve got to be,” said Rivers. “Most of the fans are from North Carolina, and they take it very seriously. I’m from Florida, so I didn’t really know anything about the rivalry.”
Rivers’ time spent at Duke under the leadership of Coach Krzyzewski and now, as a member of the Clippers, under the leadership of his father, Doc Rivers. While comparisons and differences can go either way, Rivers stated that “Coach Rivers, for sure [has the most annoying voice].”
“Coach K will yell but, I know you’ve heard, Doc has a [very] raspy voice,” said Rivers.
While Rivers said his father had the more annoying voice, on the court and at home, he said he was ‘more scared of his mom.’ But that all of it inspired his dedication to making it to the NBA.
“My path [to the NBA] wasn’t easy, people always think it is,” said Rivers. “People always think that [about] the guys who had fathers [in the NBA], but it’s the same thing. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who our father is, when we’re on the court we’re by ourselves.”
Rivers knows that he has “a different background than 99% of the league” and that he “grew up with stuff, stuff that he had access to.” But he credits his achievements to his motivation.
“[Kids] are trying to figure out, what they want to do now because their whole life they’ve had no motivation or lived off their parents, went to college, had fun and they come back and they’re like, ‘now what?'” said Rivers. “I was never like that; I saw what my father had and said, ‘I want that for myself.’ I think that’s what all the players do, ‘I wanna do what you do.'”
Rivers doesn’t believe that a player who has a father in the NBA has any advantage. He thinks that, if anything, these players face a little more hardship, or at least have a slight disadvantage.
“I was a lottery pick, and people see me go and play for my dad, so I became easy pickings to make fun,” said Rivers. “I knew coming to this team, I knew I either had to play really well, well enough to where people can’t say anything. Or, if I don’t play well, they’ll crucify me. I took that risk.”