Austin Rivers Doesn’t Mind if You Call Him Cocky, as Long as You Define It Correctly

June 18, 2012 – 7:00 am by Eric Schmoldt

There are several reasons why Austin Rivers has seemingly found himself branded as a cocky athlete. Undoubtedly some have labeled him that simply because he went to Duke and played so many nationally televised games with the Blue Devils. Perhaps it’s because he’s the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

Whatever the reason, it really doesn’t matter. Austin Rivers is willing to admit he’s cocky, confident and has a healthy ego. He believes every great NBA player has these same attributes, and he states his case by arguing that it’s not as if he is uncoachable, or thinks he knows everything or is better than everyone. That’s good enough by me. How about you?

Austin Rivers joined TSN 1050 in Toronto with Cybulski & Company to discuss the NBA Draft workout experience, leaving Duke, his reputations of being stubborn or cocky, the difference between confidence and cockiness and the best and worst things about being Doc Rivers’ kid.

Is the whole workout experience weird considering you went to Duke and people should have seen your games all the time?:

“It is what it is. It’s just part of the process. You’ve just got to go out there and play hard. I think the main thing is not worrying about showing them so much. I think the main thing is if you just go out there and compete and try to win everything, you’ll naturally do well. So, that’s just what I try to do. … I let them make their observations, but at the end of the day, to me, it’s just a workout.”

Was it tough to leave Duke?:

“No doubt. It was not something I just decided over night. It took many days and a lot of talks with Coach K and my father. We went over it and they both agree that this is the right step for me and so do I. It just came down to the fact that, ‘Do I believe that I can play at this level?’ And I do. I think there’s a lot of things I can bring to the table.”

What is it like watching Coach K and your father talk?:

“They both just know what they’re talking about. I’m fortunate and very blessed to be able to be coached by Coach K and that my dad is who he is. Not just because of how much money he’s made or how many teams he’s coached, but what kind of guy he is. He’s always been there for me and coached me.”

You have the reputation of being a guy who is very confident in his capabilities. Does that characteristic of being somewhat stubborn come from your father?:

“I’m very coachable. That’s part of the reason I went to Duke, so I could learn from Coach K. I didn’t go to Duke just because they’ve had good teams in the past. I went to Duke because they’re on the main stage and I get to be coached by Coach K every day and I want to learn from him. I think everybody has to be a little stubborn, but I think it has to be a good way where you’re open to learning new things and have to realize you don’t know it all. … I think every great player is confident. You have to be confident in your craft.”

When do people misconstrue confidence for cockiness?:

“I think they do a lot and I think sometimes I’ve gotten a rep for that. Truthfully, I just think it’s kind of unfair just because that’s not how I am. I think every great player is cocky and I think every great player has an ego. And that is something I have. I am cocky and I do have an ego. But it’s a healthy confidence and a healthy ego. You can’t have a negative one. There’s a difference between being cocky and believing in yourself and believing you can do anything and believing you can do anything to help your team win and giving your teammates confidence … than being an arrogant guy who thinks he knows it all and thinks he’s better than everyone else. There are two different kinds of cocky and I’m the first one.”

What’s the best part of being Doc Rivers’ kid?:

“I just think learning and getting to see stuff first hand. Everything has its negatives and its positives and I think one of the positives is just to get to see stuff firsthand and see how to act as a professional and understand being a professional means much more than just playing on the court.”

What’s the worst part then?:

“I think you just get judged and I think you get branded as stuff that you’re not — for example being cocky or maybe people just label you as Doc’s kid. That’s a great thing. That’s what has motivated me my whole life. People have always called me Doc’s kid and I’ve always wanted to become my own man. I’ve always wanted to work to get my name out there and earn it myself. That’s what motivates me still.”

Listen to Austin Rivers on TSN 1050 in Toronto here

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