Doc Rivers did something as coach of the Celtics that is now the stuff of legend:
Following a win over the Lakers last February, Celtics coach Doc Rivers demanded $100 each from Boston's players, coaching staff, and even team managers. He stuffed the dough in an envelope, and told his team - his entire traveling organization, really - that they can have the money back the next time they play the Lakers inside the Staples Center.
That was a bold move, you see, because Rivers did this after the Celtics’ last game of the regular season in Los Angeles. The only way they’d see the Lakers again would be if they made the Finals (and the Lakers made the Finals, but I guess Doc felt comfortable assuming that one). They did! And they collected their cash from the visitors’ locker room after Game 1. Clever motivational tactic, awesome story. The Celtics didn’t end up getting another championship out of it, but still cool!
And evidently it stuck with Tyronn Lue, who started his coaching career as an assistant under Rivers:
Coach Ty Lue just told us an AMAZING story. He said after game 5 of the Finals in GS he made all the players coaches & owners give him...— Will Burge (@WillBurge) September 26, 2016
$100 each. He took it and wrapped it up in tape and hid it the ceiling in the coaches office and said theyll get it back after Game 7...— Will Burge (@WillBurge) September 26, 2016
When they won the Championship the first thing the players asked in the locker room was "Wheres my money, coach?!" Gilbert recorded him...— Will Burge (@WillBurge) September 26, 2016
Taking the money out of the ceiling & he has the vid on his phone. Said he knew theyd be back & win & wanted to make that point to the team— Will Burge (@WillBurge) September 26, 2016
It’s less of a bet to stash money in the ceiling with only a Game 6 standing between the Cavaliers and their chance to collect, but still cool! The Warriors had no idea there was a bunch of cash hidden in their building when they blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.
All of this leads me to an important question: Is there unclaimed cash sitting in ceilings all around the NBA? How many times has a coach done the motivational gimmick of We Only Get To Reclaim Our Monies If We Win Our Way Back Into This Building only to have his team fall short? Or did a coach doing what Rivers did in the regular season simply guess wrong on which opponent his team would eventually have to face?
Like, let’s say Doc Rivers invented this tactic and only his coaching disciples would be inclined to repeat it. That means we should check the visiting locker rooms of every team Tom Thibodeau’s Bulls missed out on facing after playoff eliminations. Rasheed Wallace was on that Celtics team. The Pistons didn’t make the playoffs when he was an assistant coach in 2014, but I like to imagine he spent the whole regular season emptying his players’ wallets and stuffing their belongings in various ceilings. Not even just cash. Credit cards and photos and spare keys and condoms, too. Just ceilings full of garbage all around the NBA.
And of course, Rivers is the Clippers coach now, so you can bet visiting locker room ceilings are stuffed with dollars after all their playoff exits. Maybe multiple times over.
My point is this: If you have access to NBA locker rooms and a ladder, a National Treasure situation full of losers’ loot awaits you.