There are many things to name your kin after. But to name it after Austin Carr is like calling your new baby Fidget Spinner. It was cool at the start but got old way too quickly. That still didn’t stop Doc Rivers from naming his boy Austin Rivers. But what made Carr's career so celebrated while still being such a disappointment?
Austin Carr made quite the impression
After a prolonged media session - mostly relating to the James Harden trade - Rivers unpacked his deep relationship with one of the greatest but unluckiest to ever do it.
“The great Austin Carr, that’s my idol… I named my son after that man”, said Rivers. He continued, “I was at a basketball camp of his when I think I was in the third grade… My uncle played with him, Jim Breuer. And I think he made like 50 at the time, and there were no threes… He just made 50 bombs in a row! And when a young kid sees that, you're like ‘holy god’”. To which Mr. Cavalier responded, “Oh yeh, me and Doc go way back.”
So good he was drafted twice
After stomping the NCAA competition for Notre Dame - putting up a whopping 34.5 points a game and scoring a still record 61 points in a tournament game - Bleacher Report notched Austin Carr the 12th greatest college player of All-Time. So obviously, he was taken 1st overall in the NBA’s ‘71 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Still, Carr was so talented that a Virginia Squires team in the ABA wasted a first-round pick on him just in case they could tempt him to play in the ABA. Can you picture how good someone would have to be to take that kind of longshot? That’s like throwing your food under the table all because a waiter walked out of the kitchen with something so tasty looking, you lost all sense of rational thought. To put his limitless potential in context, they did the same thing for Ralph Sampson that year - that's the level Carr was expected to be on.
Unfortunately, his professional career was less transcendent. A broken foot in preseason sorely followed by yet another significant foot injury within a month of debuting in the league meant Carr went under the knife before entering his second season. Wait, why did Doc name his son after this jinxed star again?
Carr’s luck improved the following season with the arrival of Lenny Wilkins and enough bone marrow in his foot to reach the All-Star game in his third season. But just as things were looking up, his knee wore out. He would never play in the All-Star game again. To make matters worse for the Cavaliers, with Carr missing exactly half of the regular season, the team fell short of the franchise’s first-ever playoff berth by one win.
That wraps up the story of Austin Carr, the potentialsuperstar. From that moment forth, things were never the same while his team achieved its most significant levels of success. The Cavaliers went as far as the Conference Finals, where Carr played a key role. His health miraculously turned into a non-factor as he got older, eventually playing three straight seasons of 82 games. But despite the success of the team, Carr was at best a supporting piece on what were some all-around equally talented Cavaliers teams of the ’70s.
Austin Carr was still honored enough to have his NBA jersey retired by The Land and now resides as Cleveland’s game-to-game broadcaster. When reviewing how his career transpired, watching his ceiling crumble in so early almost makes you wish he joined the ABA like Artis Gilmore did that very same draft. At least that way, Carr would have joined the NBA later after the ABA shot itself in the foot numerous times.