So to get them on the right page, Rivers asked the three All-Stars to join him in an unspecified meeting early one September morning last year. Oddly, the meeting took place on a duck boat with wheels that gives tours through Boston for locals and tourists from all over the world. As the tour took place in downtown, Rivers explained that they were on the same route the Red Sox and Patriots had taken for their championship parades. He also added that if the three superstars came together as one, they too could celebrate with a parade, which they did Thursday.
"I'd never been on the duck tour, all my years of being in Boston," Pierce said. "So we took the tour, and Doc said, 'You know, this is what they're going to do if we win a championship.' So it kind of like set the foundation, like, hey, this has got to be our motivation."
I love that story, but for me that wasn't Doc's first Championship building move. Only diehards will remember this, but way back when Doc first took over (I believe it was in his first year as coach) Paul Pierce was still stuck in bad habits developed from years of playing in Jim O'Brien's stand-around-and-shoot-3's offense. There was a play early in the year where Pierce lollygaged up the court when he should have been pushing the tempo. Doc could have let it slide and nobody would have blamed him or even noticed. Or he could have used it as an example of why he should convince Danny to trade Pierce. But he took the opportunity to make a statement. He benched Paul for part of the game and explained to him why he did it.
For the first year or so, things were kinda dicey between Paul and Doc. Rivers was billed as a players' coach, but he was at odds with his star player. However, over time, Paul started to come around. He saw his productivity increase in Doc's offense and he bought in. In time, the two developed a bond and Paul became more of a leader and a Captain.
And now he's the Finals MVP. I can't help but think that Doc should get a lot of credit for that development. Doc didn't just figure out how to coach in the last year. He's been developing, motivating, teaching and guiding all along. It just took a while for his efforts to pay off.
Thank you Doc Rivers.