By Vincent Bonsignore
The average fan knows new Clippers forward Glen Davis by his nickname, “Big Baby.”
But Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who coached Davis for four years with the Boston Celtics and was reunited with him this week when the Clippers signed him to beef up their front court, has other nicknames for the 6-foot-9 big man.
“He’s called me a lot of things,” Davis said, laughing, while remembering his days under Rivers in Boston.
Like, for instance, Lazarus – a reference to Davis’ penchant for getting knocked to the floor, rolling around in pain only to miraculously rise back up to live another play.
It became a such running joke with the Celtics that Rivers readily admits there were times Davis tumbled to the court in practice and Rivers ordered the team to just keep on scrimmaging, knowing full well the injury wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed and that Davis would eventually pick himself back up.
Normally, that is exactly what happened.
Except for the time Davis took a blow to the head in a playoff game and suffered a real injury.
Much to the surprise of Rivers and his teammates.
At the time it happened it was pretty serious. But nearly four years later it’s actually a pretty funny story.
The setting was Orlando during the 2009-10 Eastern Conference finals and Davis had just taken a wicked elbow to the head by then Magic center Dwight Howard – the force of which sent Davis crashing to the ground.
“I was out,” Davis remembered.
Rivers, though, thought it was just another of Davis’ typical over-acting jobs. And knowing the high stakes of the game, Rivers screamed at Davis to pick himself up.
If you watch the video, you can literally see Rivers angrily gesturing at Davis to get up and join his teammates on the other end of the court.
A dazed and confused Davis could hear his coach yelling at him as he struggled to gather himself.
“My eyes are rolling around, I’m completely out of it, and all I hear is (Rivers) screaming ‘Get your %$%$%$%$% &%&%$%%$% up. Get your $#$%$%&%% &&%&%% up!!!!’” Davis laughingly remembered.
Somehow, someway, Davis pulled himself up and tried to run to the other end of the court. Only his legs, head and senses weren’t cooperating.
“Everything was moving in slow motion,” Davis said.
Meanwhile, Rivers kept screaming at him. But try as Davis did to run, it wasn’t happening. And after taking few stumbling steps, he literally collapsed into the arms of a referee near the Celtics bench.
Only then did Rivers realize this time, Davis was really hurt.
“And as I slumped over (Rivers) was like “oh #$%$$#$.” Davis recalled.
Davis wasn’t acting. In fact he suffered a concussion.
“He felt pretty bad,” Davis said.
No hard feelings, of course. In fact, Davis cites his strong relationship with Rivers for choosing to sign with the Clippers after getting bought out by the Orlando Magic.
“But man, I haven’t thought about that in years,” Davis said. “And now that I think about it, he owes me an apology. I was knocked out, man. And he thought I was faking”