Ubuntu: The Doc Rivers Way of Life
I’m aware that I’m late to the party but I recently came across the Netflix series, The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life, that focused on a different coach in a different sport in each varying episode. For the basketball episode, the show covers none other than 76ers’ coach Doc Rivers. Rivers mainly discusses the 2008 Boston Celtics team that he coached, and won a championship with. Doc gives great insight about coaching stars, dealing with difficulties in his life while coaching, but the most important piece of this episode was Ubuntu.
So, what exactly Ubuntu? Simply put, it is a unification of people, that every motion of mine affects you, and vice versa. But Ubuntu isn’t a “thing”, it’s not a tangible object or something you can measure, it is a way of living. This philosophy to life originated in South Africa, and is described as the essence of being human. Togetherness, pushing each other to be the best version of themselves, so that everyone else can do the same. It isn’t a word, it is a way of life.
“A person is a person through other people. I can’t be all I can be, unless you are all you can be.”
Doc Rivers credits Ubuntu for helping the Celtics win a title, and for being the power that held the Los Angeles Clippers together during the Donald Sterling scandal. During the 2008 run, the entire Celtics organization bought into this lifestyle, and all of the players and staff made Ubuntu the only important thing day in and day out. As I watch this 76ers season unfold, and I see the maturity that has come over this team, it makes sense after understanding Doc’s philosophy on life. He starts out the documentary by saying the following:
“We are going to do what is best for the team, it may not be best for you or for me but if it’s best for the team then it is right.”
Hearing what Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have said about Doc, and the team, and just the way they seem to have approached this season is incredibly encouraging, and it may be due to this way of living. Winning takes sacrifice, not from one player, but from everyone for the greater good. We have heard Ben say multiple times that everyone is “buying in”, and all he cares about is winning, this could very well be a major reason why they are meshing so well even this early into a season.
“People think that when you’re the champion you don’t get hit, it’s actually the exact opposite. When you’re the champion, you just decide to keep moving. How many punches can you take and keep moving forward?”
If you’re looking to get to know Doc Rivers better, and everything he has been through, this is a fantastic look into his life. His insight, confidence, and outlook on basketball and life are what make him a great coach. After watching, it made me extremely grateful that he is here in Philadelphia, and it gives me hope for his future here.
Doc Rivers’ PlayBook: Rules to Life
- Finish the Race
- Don’t Be a Victim
- Ubuntu is a Way of Life
- Pressure is a Privilege
- Champions Keep Moving Forward