Doc Rivers: Surprised by Trump win, but 'let's give him a chance'

ByAndrew Han ESPN logo
Thursday, November 10, 2016

L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said "there was nothing wrong" with people protesting Donald Trump's election victory but that they should be open to giving the president-elect the opportunity to prove himself.

"The election didn't go the way I wanted it to go," Rivers said after the Clippers' 111-80 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. "I personally know Donald Trump. I've golfed with him and I know him. I don't think there's anyone who runs for president that wants to do bad. I really don't. So, you know, he won. My take on it: let's give him a chance and see what he can do. That's the only way anyway now. So, let's go with that."

Rivers had also addressed the election results in Wednesday's pregame media availability where he had affirmed his belief in the American electoral system.

"Donald Trump is going to be fine as president," Rivers said during that session. "That's something I never thought I would have to say. Honestly. At the end of the day, he will be because I just believe America, overall, works. There's a Congress, a Senate, and it's going to work out."

Rivers was surprised by Trump's victory in the presidential race, but cited civic responsibility and an old sports adage when sharing his thoughts on the president-elect.

"I think sports should've helped us before the election," Rivers continued. "Never underestimate your opponent is the one thing I saw from the beginning. And, honestly, you guys know I know, I guess, President Trump. That's the first time I've said that. Oh boy. And he was underestimated. He really was from the beginning.

"And, I think we talk about in sports every night, don't underestimate your opponent. And, after defeat, the sun comes back up and you get back to work. In the political process, the way to get back to work is to actually get out and vote, you know, instead of protest. A lot of people didn't vote, and then they wake up the next morning and they're upset.

"And, I think, the one thing this thing taught me again, is how powerful the vote is. It's extremely powerful. Rural America went out and voted. Inner-city America did not. You can make a case that people in inner cities didn't want to vote because there's not been a lot of change for them. And, they're tired of voting. They want some action. So, that's what I saw last night."

The Clippers coach reiterated his belief in the importance of participation in the political process as a means of activism for those unhappy with the results of Tuesday night and expressed optimism in moving forward as a nation.

"But, if you don't like it, you have two years from now to change it -- not the president -- but you can change the Congress," Rivers said. "You can change the Senate. If you don't like it, change it. And, you change it by either running or voting. So, I think that's the way. Don't get mad; go do something. I've said that. I say that to my players. 'Do something about it.' And that's my thing right now -- go do something about it if you want change.

"The sun came up this morning. There was a time late last night I wasn't sure if it was going happen, but it did. We're all going to be OK, everyone. We're going to be OK."

On Monday, Rivers had encouraged people to vote during his pre- and postgame comments. He said he had already voted in Florida, where the Chicago native remains a resident despite living much of the year in Los Angeles. He didn't disclose his choice for president.

Portland coach Terry Stotts didn't mince words, saying, "I was very disappointed. It wasn't my choice. I hope the country is going to be OK."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.