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#WaybackWednesday: Doc Rivers Calls The 2004 NBA Finals On ABC

Before ESPN's 2023-24 regular season game coverage begins tonight with the NBA Champion head coach's return for Celtics-Knicks, recall his previous ESPN commentating stint during the 2004 NBA Finals

On a recent media conference call, ESPN NBA analyst Doc Rivers was asked by a reporter whether returning to broadcasting at ESPN after 19 years would be like riding a bike.

The NBA Champion Head Coach called the 2004 NBA Finals on ABC alongside Al Michaels (see excerpt above). Rivers responded to the reporter’s question below:

“Not riding a bike. Maybe a tricycle, I don’t know. But it’s funny, I did a [preseason] game last week, and it felt natural . . . I’m a big reader, and I prepare. I like stats. I’m an analytical guy in some ways, as well.

“I’m taking this very seriously. I want to be great at it. Everything I do, I want to be great at.”

To read the full transcript, visit ESPN Press Room.

Rivers joins a pair of Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame broadcasters – Mike Breen and Doris Burke – to form ESPN’s new lead NBA broadcast team. Lisa Salters serves as the sideline reporter. The team will make their debut tonight in the mecca – Madison Square Garden – as the New York Knicks host the Boston Celtics at 7 p.m. ET. The game is exclusively on ESPN in the New York market.

The video above is an excerpt from the Game 5 NBA Finals opening on ABC from the Palace at Auburn Hills, June 15, 2004. The host Pistons defeated the Lakers, 100-87, to clinch the best-of-seven-game series, 4-1, for the NBA title.

Ronce Rajan contributed to this post

(L-R) Doc Rivers, Doris Burke and Mike Breen will be on the ESPN call tonight for the Boston Celtics-New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden (Melina Pizano/ESPN Images)
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