Doc Rivers had a chance to thrive with the Boston Celtics, winning a championship in 2008 with a core built for sustainability.

During his tenure, Boston made another NBA Finals appearance and consistently competed as one of the best teams in the league. His years with the Celtics marked a truly special time for the coach, who still values that chapter in the highest regard.

“They were probably the best years of my life in sports,” Rivers reflected with reporters at TD Garden before being honored at “The Tradition” on Wednesday. “Being here that entire time. … That time will never go away, for me and a lot of people involved in that. When you walk the streets of Boston, you see all of your ex-players. (Kevin Garnett) and all these guys. You still reminisce about it. It’s an amazing feeling that will never go away.”

Rivers still gets a reminder of his legacy whenever he returns to Boston, looking up at the 2008 championship banner every time he comes to TD Garden.

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“That’s always nice,” Rivers said. “Whether I’m the coach here or the coach anywhere, when you stand under a banner that you have a part of, it’s always an amazing feeling. Every time I come in, it’s the first thing I look at.”

Since departing after the 2012-13 season, Rivers went on to coach the Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers. While he had his teams in the playoffs, he never returned to a championship opportunity like he had with the Celtics. Rivers does occasionally think of what could have been had had he remained in Boston.

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“I regret it every day,” Rivers admitted. “It was the right move for me at the time. Nine years at one place. We were going to rebuild. I look back on that all the time. My life would have been so much smoother if I had stayed where I was at. … You don’t look back and I don’t, but I regret that at times, for sure.”

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As for the modern Celtics, they look to chase a championship this season with the growth of another talented core, one that Rivers is rather fond of.

Tune in to NESN on Tuesday, Dec. 12 for the premiere of “The Tradition 2023.”

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images