In recent years, Doc Rivers has often expressed pride in starting every NBA season since 1999 as league head coach in an industry with no guarantee of longevity.
That streak ended in May when Philadelphia fired Rivers after three seasons and teams with open positions looked elsewhere for hires. But when the 2023-24 season begins, Rivers will still be on the NBA sidelines — wearing a headset, though no longer as head coach.
ESPN announced Monday that the former Clippers coach has joined the network on a “multi-year deal” and will work as part of its top game broadcast team, which includes Rivers along with Doris Burke, play-by-play announcer Mike Breen and supporting cast Reporter Lisa Salters will offer analysis.
The commentary team’s responsibilities include covering the 2024 NBA Finals, the playoff series including the Eastern Conference Finals, a Christmas game and Saturday’s ABC games in prime time.
Burke and Breen have both been honored by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for their work as broadcasters, and Burke’s appointment will make her the first woman to serve as a television analyst for a championship event, according to ESPN.
Her merger with Rivers comes four years after Rivers fumed that “the Doris Burkes of the world were complaining about the guys’ load management” after she criticized Kawhi Leonard after the Clippers winger, who was a freshman at the time was, suspended several nationally televised games 2019-20 season.
Rivers, who boasts a .590 career win percentage and 1,097 NBA wins – one behind Larry Brown for eighth all-time – has plenty of television experience. After retiring from playing, he covered games for the San Antonio Spurs and Turner Sports in the 1990s and later helped host the 2004 NBA Finals for ABC.