June 04, 2010
It seems strange enough to be made up, but the story is completely true. An NBA coach managed to stash $2,600 in cash in a Staples Center ceiling tile for nearly four months without anyone finding out.
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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.
The kicker? This was after the team's only game inside the Staples Center during the regular season. They weren't going to make it back inside that locker room unless the team made it back to the NBA Finals, some 3 1/2 months later. This was the only scenario that would see Rivers being able to take his team's cash back, and at the time of the stashing, it seemed a long shot for the Celtics to even make it back to Staples within the year.
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The Celtics, at the time, were a clear No. 3 in their own conference at that point, and may have even dropped a notch in most NBA followers' minds between that February contest and the end of the regular season.
Rivers had faith, though. And at some point when the C's returned to Los Angeles, on Tuesday, his team got its money back. Save for Eddie House(notes), who was traded from the team a few days following Rivers' show of faith. Doc's take is after the jump.
The money was apparently stashed underneath a ceiling tile, unbeknownst to Staples Center officials. ("We don't usually check the ceiling tiles after games," one jokingly told me after Game 1, "maybe if the President were coming, we would, but not usually."). Neither, apparently, did any extended member of the Celtics family know about it.
To have 26 people — younger players, coaching staff, even Celtics PR head Jeff Twiss (who gave Rivers the envelope) — keep the news about a secret envelope full of booty quiet for almost four months?
Pretty impressive. Pretty strange motivation technique, but pretty impressive nevertheless.
One has to wonder, though, if it might be worth it to check out the ceiling tiles in the visitors' locker room down in Phoenix, San Antonio and Dallas.