What is Austin Rivers’ race, ethnicity and background?

After struggling with the New Orleans Pelicans his first few years in the league, Austin Rivers seems as if he is finally comfortable in his role backing up Chris Paul on a competitive Los Angeles Clippers team.

With his dad, Doc Rivers, heading up the team, the junior Rivers has improved his game over the last three seasons in Los Angeles. With Doc being one of the top NBA Head Coaches in the league, Rivers became the first NBA player to play for his father on January 16th, 2015 when he was traded to the Clippers.

It makes for a unique dynamic that makes it difficult for Rivers to grow organically.  As a former star player from consistently-hated Duke team now playing under his father in the big leagues.  Not only do fans question whether his success is his own doing, or does his father favor him.

Not only that, fans have interested in what Austin Rivers racial background is? With his light-skin and curly black hair, some have assumed that Rivers may be Puerto Rican or Dominican. Prior to becoming a key member of the Clippers, Rivers played at Duke for one season after leading his High School basketball team, Winter Park High School, to back-to-back Florida 6A state championships in 2010 and 2011. Rivers would go on to be the overall #1 ranked High School basketball player.

Rivers was taken with the 10th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans before being traded to play for his papa Rivers and the Clippers. Rivers has continued to improve each season that he has been in the NBA, with seeing a big bump in playing time, points scored, and assists per game during the 2016-17 NBA Season.

Similar to many other young NBA stars; however, fans have a number of questions about Rivers. These range from if Doc Rivers is really his dad? (YES)  When is Rivers’ birthday? Is Austin Rivers single? And What is Austin Rivers’ race and ethnicity?— is Austin Rivers African-American, White, Puerto Rican, Filipino or is he Multi-Racial?

Austin  Rivers

It’s  Okay to Ask About Austin’s Racial Background

For many Americans, it can feel like that in this day and age that it isn’t proper to ask what race or ethnic background someone might be for fear of being branded as a racist. We think that’s quite a jump. We believe that trying to understand a person’s ethnic background, people will have more knowledge around not only the ethnic makeup of society and our country, but is a step toward knowing more about history and culture.

Austin Rivers is another young NBA player who comes from a diverse background. Similar to other players that we have looked at on Interbasket (including his teammate Blake Griffin and fellow rising star Devin Booker), the key to understanding more about Rivers’ race and ethnicity is to take a look at both his Mom and Dad to see if we can understand what his ethnicity is.

Tell Me More about Austin Rivers’ Father

Before Doc Rivers became one of the NBA’s top coaches (unless you’re talking to Glen Davis), he made a name for himself as an NBA point guard known for his defense. Doc Rivers was an 6’4” tall All-American guard playing for Proviso High School in Chicago.

After his third season of playing for Marquette, Rivers was drafted in the second round of the 1983 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks where he started for seven seasons. River’s would finish out his NBA career playing for the San Antonio Spurs from 1994-1996. Doc Rivers would get his first head coaching gig with the Orlando Magic from 1999-2003 before being fired and then hired by the Boston Celtics in the 2004 season where he spent the next 10 years before leaving to coach the Clippers.

Rivers is African American.

What about Austin River’s Mom?

Austin Rivers’ mom, is Kristen Campion Rivers who met his dad while they attended Marquette University. They would go on to marry in 1986 and have four children (including Austin) together.

All of the Rivers children are extremely athletic with the oldest son (Jeremiah) playing college basketball for Georgetown and IU before going on to play in the NBA D-League. Their daughter Callie played volleyball for the University of Florida before playing professionally in Puerto Rico, and the youngest son, Spencer, who plays basketball for UC Irvine. Rivers’ mom is Caucasian and is likely of French European origin.

So, What is Austin Rivers’ Race?

With Austin Rivers’ dad being African American and mom being Caucasian, Austin Rivers is considered bi-racial or multi-racial depending on the view one takes. Rivers is like many other NBA players where a single label is likely just not appropriate for him like many people growing up in the United States today in our
multicultural norm . Similar to our other posts on race, we aim to help fans look at the facts and continue the discussion on where our current stars in the professional leagues come from to help better understand ourselves.

If you’ve miss some of our past discussions, we have looked at the race and ethnic background of:
Stephen CurryBen Simmons and Klay Thompson and those pieces always seem to be popular with the readers of Interbasket. If you would like to contribute more to the discussion, feel free to share in the comments section of this article or at our forum.


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