Rivers, Brand Hope to Open Doors

by Lauren Rosen

In the early days of Doc Rivers and Elton Brand’s partnership, the pair has set lofty goals - on and off the court.

Not only does the duo aspire to bring an NBA championship to Philadelphia, but they hope to open doors for future generations of under-represented populations.

Preparing for his 22nd season as an NBA head coach, Rivers is one of just five Black head coaches in the NBA. Including Rivers and Brand, there are only four Black head coach and general manager duos in the league.

The Sixers’ pair hopes their success will make way for a more diverse and inclusive space in NBA front offices.

“It has a lot of significance that we have a Black general manager and a Black coach,” Brand said.

“The goal was to get the best coach, so it just happens that the best coach for our program right now is Black.”

For Rivers, one of his greatest ambitions for his tenure with the 76ers is to make sure his hiring reflects positively on Brand.

“When I leave this place, and decide to go off to some far away golf course, my goal is for it to be said that Elton Brand is the best GM in sports.” 

As in all of sports, not just the NBA.

“[In the NBA] we don’t have a lot of Black GM’s, or Black front office people. If he’s successful, then someone else can be.”

Rivers believes the visibility of successful Black head coaches, GMs, minorities, and minority duos will change the face - and expectations - of the league moving forward.

“If [Elton is] successful, then we’ll have a woman who’s a GM. We’ve got to take away the fear of that.” 

“No one wants to be given anything,” Brand said. “But you want an opportunity to be viewed as a person that can lead. It’s a great feeling.”

As both Rivers and Brand seize their opportunities, they’ll continue setting an example and opening doors for those who will follow.


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