The city of Washington, D.C. first made an impression on Austin Rivers when he was 14 years old, a little brother tagging along to watch his older brother, Jeremiah, play college basketball.
The older Rivers played two seasons at Georgetown in Northwest Washington before transferring to Indiana University. Austin would accompany their parents on trips up north from their home base of Winter Park, Florida.
"I used to love coming up here. I used to love the street in Georgetown, the area is so cool. They have all the boutique shops and restaurants and stuff," Austin said, referring to the area near M St. and Wisconsin Ave.
Twelve years after Jeremiah became a Hoya, Austin has joined the Wizards. He was traded to Washington in a July deal that sent Marcin Gortat to the L.A. Clippers.
Rivers' perception of D.C. has changed over the years, as he has grown older and seen it from a different viewpoint. Judging D.C. as a road city when you're an NBA player takes on different elements than his first impression as a young high schooler traveling with his parents.
Rivers, though, has grown to like Washington even more after coming to town on NBA road trips. He said the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown is one of his favorites in the NBA's landscape.
Rivers has also noticed an energetic crowd at Wizards games that is craving for an NBA contender. He thinks there is a lot of potential for the team to grow its fanbase.
"You look at the sports and you saw what the Capitals did [winning the Stanley Cup]. They've got the Redskins. It's a good sports town," Rivers said. "I think the city would have a lot of energy around if we were able to do something like that and go far in the playoffs and make things shake. I'm excited to be here."
Rivers said his fianceé is also looking forward to making Washington home. Though he has just one year left on his contract, they plan to make the most of their stay, however long it ends up being.
"My fianceé is huge into the museums, so I've already gotta check her and be like, 'We can only do so much,'" he said. "We've gotta find somewhere to live here first."
Regardless of how long Rivers stays in Washington, he and his family will have a lifelong connection to the city. The couple is expecting their first child, Kaden James Rivers, who will go by K.J.
K.J. is going to spend at least the first few months of his life in D.C. Rivers certainly hopes for some positive on-court memories to pair with all of the off-court links already in place.
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