The FX series “Clipped” premiered this week, and it stars Laurence Fishburne as former Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.

“Clipped” is based on ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne’s “30 for 30” podcast series “The Sterling Affairs” chronicling the Donald Sterling scandal and the aftermath that befell the Los Angeles Clippers.

Fishburne is no stranger to playing historical figures, but the 62-year-old admittedly is not a sports fan. Luckily, for him, he was able to get into contact with Rivers to learn more about the former Clippers head coach.

“Thank goodness Doc is alive and well,” Fishburne told Sports Illustrated’s Mark Bechtel in an interview published Wednesday. “We had some mutual friends who passed my number to his, and I was able to contact him and talk to him a little bit on the phone, then invited him to my home. I was having a party on Labor Day with some other friends. He arrived and got into a debate about the late Bill Russell, and whether or not he was the greatest that ever played the game, which was fascinating. And it allowed me to observe him in a very natural and just perfectly relaxed environment. And so that’s where I was able to sort of glean the things that I needed to understand to portray him and the essence of him.”

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Fishburne admitted he didn’t understand the context of the Russell debate so he wasn’t sure if Rivers was arguing for or against the Celtics legend as the GOAT.

There are obvious characteristics fans know about the Milwaukee Bucks head coach, but there was one thing that stood out to Fishburne in his preparation.

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“Two things. The rasp, obviously,” Fishburne said. “And the other thing is his whole approach to coaching. It was like being a shepherd, a good shepherd who leads from behind. From his perspective, the decisions and that the team belongs to the team. These guys have to lead themselves. They have to collectively come together and lead themselves. And his job is to create an environment where they can be the best players, the best teammates and the best men they can be, the best people that they can be. His job is to facilitate and support that. It’s not about him being out front.”

“Clipped” will take a look at what Rivers had to go through during the Sterling scandal, and the series also features Austin Scott as former Celtics forward Blake Griffin and Jock McKissic as Boston champion Glen “Big Baby” Davis.

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Featured image via Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports Images