TORONTO - Grady Alexander Rivers, the father of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, died peacefully in Chicago yesterday morning, according to team spokesman Jeff Twiss.
Grady Rivers was 76 and had experienced some health concerns in recent months. Funeral arrangements are expected to be finalized today. Doc Rivers flew to his hometown of Chicago from Toronto yesterday to be with his family.
Associate head coach Tom Thibodeau and assistant Armond Hill coached in Rivers's place during Boston's 98-95 victory over Toronto at
"This win here is dedicated to Doc and his family," forward Kevin Garnett said. "My heart goes out to him. You guys, please, if you can, put him in your prayers. We've all lost someone special and dear. This win's for Doc. To the Rivers family, this win is for ya'll."
After learning of the news, Rivers had an emotional meeting with his staff at the team hotel. He later told the players about it during their morning meeting.
Grady Rivers was a former Chicago police lieutenant who often went to his son's high school games and sat in the front row in uniform. He scheduled his work days around his son's games. Grady Rivers, who raised his family in Maywood, Ill., also found time to coach his son's youth baseball teams. During baseball practice, the elder Rivers drove his police car onto the field in his police uniform and turned up the volume on his dispatch radio so he could hear it.
"Obviously, it's a tough loss for the family," Thibodeau said. "The way Doc is, you just feel for him. Doc's a strong guy, and when you see someone go through that, it's sad."
While many of Rivers's friends' fathers were incarcerated or dead, his parents were always near.
"We were there because so many parents weren't," Grady Rivers told the Globe in an Oct. 1, 2006 story.
Not buying it
SuperSonics chairman Clay Bennett has informed NBA commissioner David Stern that his ownership group intends to relocate the team to Oklahoma City as soon as it can get out of its Key Arena lease. Celtics guard Ray Allen, who played in Seattle from 2003-07, wasn't surprised.
"When the team was bought from the previous ownership they told us and everybody in the city that they sold it to a group that they thought would most likely keep the team in the city," Allen said. "Everybody thought that was some [garbage]. How is someone from Oklahoma City going to buy a team in Seattle who doesn't have any ties [in Seattle] and has big money in Oklahoma? If things don't go right, everybody's craving for the team to move to Oklahoma City.
"It just seemed like they got the higher bid because they made more money selling the team to someone outside of the city. So when they made that announcement [to move], it came as no surprise to me.
"I think the people of that city are so snake-bitten by previous ownership and now the new ownership."
Allen reached 17,000 career points when he tallied the 29th of his 33 . . . Paul Pierce passed Sam Jones for ninth place on the Celtics' all-time list when he reached 15,421 points after getting the ninth of his 13 on the afternoon . . . With three rebounds, Brian Scalabrine reached 1,000 for his career.
Marc J. Spears can be reached at email@example.com