|Birth Day:||March 20, 1945|
|Birth Place:||Rome, United States|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He played professionally with the San Diego Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns from 1967 to 1976.
Riley played basketball for Linton High School in Schenectady, New York under head coach Walt Przybylo and his assistants Bill Rapavy and Ed Catino. Linton High School's 74–68 victory over New York City's Power Memorial on December 29, 1961, is remembered mostly for its two stars: Power Memorial's Lew Alcindor (who later changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar); and his future coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, Pat Riley. In 1991, Riley called it, "One of the greatest games in the history of Schenectady basketball."
He was selected by the San Diego Rockets in the 1st round of the 1967 NBA draft, and was also drafted as a wide receiver by the Dallas Cowboys in the 11th round of the 1967 NFL Draft. He joined the Rockets and was later selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1970 NBA expansion draft, but was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, which he helped toward the 1972 NBA Championship both by coming off the bench in games and by guarding friend and Laker guard Jerry West in practice. He retired after the 1975–76 NBA season as a member of the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns.
Riley returned to the NBA in 1977 as a broadcaster for the Lakers. During the 1979–80 season, when the team's head coach, Jack McKinney, was injured during a near-fatal bicycle accident, assistant coach Paul Westhead took over the team's head coaching duties. Riley then moved from the broadcast booth to the bench as one of Westhead's assistant coaches. With rookie guard Magic Johnson and longtime star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Lakers won the 1980 NBA Finals, defeating Philadelphia in six games, giving Westhead and Riley championship rings in their first year coaching the team. However, the team lost in the playoffs the next year to the Moses Malone-led Houston Rockets.
Riley led the Lakers to four consecutive NBA Finals appearances. His first title came in his first season, against the Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams returned to the Finals the next year, and this time Riley's Lakers were swept by the 76ers. The Lakers lost in the Finals again in 1984, to the Boston Celtics in seven games. The Lakers earned Riley his second NBA title in 1985 in a rematch of the previous year, as the Lakers beat the Celtics in six games. The Lakers' four-year Western Conference streak was broken the following year by the Houston Rockets.
In 1987, Riley coached a Lakers team that is considered one of the best teams of all-time. With future Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, plus Michael Cooper, Byron Scott, A. C. Green, Mychal Thompson, and Kurt Rambis, the Lakers finished 65–17 in the regular season, third-best in team history. They met with similar success in the playoffs, dispatching the Celtics in six games to win Riley his third NBA title.
One of Riley's most famous moments came when he guaranteed the crowd a repeat championship during the Lakers' championship parade in downtown Los Angeles (he first made the guarantee during the post-victory locker room celebration). While the 1988 Lakers did not produce as many wins in the regular season as the 1987 Lakers, they still won the NBA title, becoming the first team in 19 years to repeat as champions. The Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons in seven games in the 1988 NBA Finals, making good on Riley's promise. Riley's titles with the Lakers make him one of six men to play for an NBA Championship team and later coach the same NBA team to a championship; the others are George Senesky, Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, K. C. Jones and Billy Cunningham.
In 1988, Riley published a book entitled Showtime: Inside the Lakers' Breakthrough Season, a New York Times best seller which recapped the Lakers' successful run to the 1987 NBA Championship. One of the phrases Riley coined in the book was the "Disease of More", stating that "success is often the first step toward disaster" and that defending champions often fail the following season because every player who returns wants more playing time, more shots per game, and more money. The phrase stemmed from the Lakers' disappointing 1980–81 campaign coming off a championship the previous season.
Although Riley would offer no further guarantees, his Lakers embarked upon a quest to obtain a third consecutive championship in 1989. Having successfully claimed a repeat championship the year before, the term used for this new goal was a three-peat championship, and Riley, through his corporate entity, Riles & Co., trademarked the phrase three-peat. However, in a rematch of the previous year's finals series, the Lakers were swept by the Pistons in the 1989 NBA Finals.
Commentators admired Riley's ability to work with the physical, deliberate Knicks, adapting his "Showtime" style with the fast-paced Laker teams in the 1980s. The Chicago Bulls had easily swept the Knicks in 1991 en route to their first championship. However, in 1992, with Riley, the Knicks pushed the defending champion Bulls to seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The physical defense of the Knicks against the Chicago Bulls' finesse superstars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen during the 1992 playoffs led to a feud between Riley and Bulls head coach Phil Jackson regarding the officiating and the Knicks' rough style of play. In 1993, Riley led the Knicks to their best regular season record in team history (tied with the 1969–1970 team) and received his second Coach of the Year award. The Knicks again met the Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals but lost in six games after the winning the first two games at home. Jackson's Bulls that season went on to win the finals and accomplish a "three-peat," despite Riley's trademark in 1989.
In 1993, while coaching the New York Knicks, Riley published a second New York Times bestseller entitled The Winner Within: A Life Plan for Team Players. Aimed at a business leadership as well as basketball enthusiasts, it distilled a lesson in teamwork and leadership from each of Riley's seasons as a coach to that date. Byron Laursen, saluted by Riley as "...a true Showtime Warrior", co-authored both of Riley's books.
Riley returned to the NBA Finals, in 1994, en route defeating the three-time defending champion Bulls (without Michael Jordan) in seven games during the Eastern Conference semifinals. However, New York lost in seven games to the Houston Rockets after being up 3–2 in the series. During the 1994 Finals, Riley became the first coach to participate in an NBA Finals Game 7 with two teams, having been with the Lakers in 1984 and 1988. However, he had the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first (and to date, only) coach to lose an NBA Finals Game 7 with two teams, having lost to the Celtics, in 1984. It also denied him the distinction of becoming the first coach to win a Game 7 in the Finals with two teams, having defeated the Pistons in seven games, in 1988.
In 1995, Riley resigned from the Knicks via fax to become president and head coach of the Miami Heat, with complete control over basketball operations. The move caused some controversy, as the Heat were accused by the Knicks of tampering by pursuing Riley while he still had a year remaining on his contract with the Knicks. The matter was settled after the Heat sent their 1996 first-round pick (which the Knicks used to draft Walter McCarty) and $1 million in cash to the Knicks on September 1, 1995. Riley's coaching of the Heat to playoff contention later made them bitter rivals with his former team.
In 1997, Riley's Heat defeated his old team, the Knicks, in a physical seven game series. Advancing to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, they again proved no match for Jordan and the Bulls. Riley was selected as Coach of the Year for the third time however, after leading Miami to a 61–21 regular season record for first place in the Atlantic division.
The Heat compiled consecutive seasons over .600. However, the 1998, 1999, and 2000 playoffs were disappointments, as they lost to the arch-rival Knicks; the first two in the opening round and the latter in the second round. In 1999, the Knicks themselves reached the Finals.
During the 2005 off-season, it was widely speculated that Riley was attempting to run Van Gundy out of his coaching job and take over the job himself, now that the team was in a position to contend for the championship. Indeed, Van Gundy resigned from his position as head coach on December 12, 2005, just 21 games into the season, citing a need to spend more time with his family, and Riley resumed coaching the team. Riley's Heat team defeated the Detroit Pistons in the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals on June 2, 2006, making it the first time the Miami Heat reached the finals. Riley's Heat squared off against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 NBA Finals. Despite losing the first two games to Dallas, the Heat rallied to win the next four games and their first NBA Championship. After Game Six, Riley commented that he had packed one suit, one shirt and one tie for the trip to Dallas. It was Riley's fifth championship as a head coach, and his first with a team other than the Lakers. Riley became one of only two NBA coaches to take three teams to the NBA Finals, the other being Alex Hannum. He joined Hannum and Phil Jackson as the only head coaches to lead two teams to NBA titles. He also became the only coach to twice replace a coach in mid-season and take that team to an NBA title.
On February 27, 2007, the Miami Heat were honored for their 2005–2006 NBA Championship at the White House. During the ceremony, Riley presented George W. Bush with a jersey before announcing, "I voted for the man. If you don't vote, you don't count." After the ceremony, Riley was questioned by reporters about the political nature of his comments. He responded by saying, "I'm pro-American, pro-democracy, I'm pro-government. I follow my boss. He's my boss."
The following season, the Heat finished 15–67. The team had lost several of its players to extended injuries, and a disgruntled Shaquille O'Neal was traded mid-season. Two years after winning the championship, they finished with one of the worst records of all time. On April 28, 2008, Riley announced that he would step down as coach of the Heat. Former Heat assistant Erik Spoelstra was announced as his replacement. Riley remains team president. Although the Heat have nominally had a general manager for most of Riley's tenure as team president, Riley has had the final say in basketball matters since his arrival in Miami.
As president, Riley acquired LeBron James and Chris Bosh to form the Heat's "Big Three" with Dwyane Wade, which reached four straight NBA Finals from 2011-14. In 2012, the Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder to give Riley his first championship purely as an executive. The Heat repeated the feat in 2013, defeating the San Antonio Spurs.
Currently, Pat Riley is 78 years, 2 months and 17 days old. Pat Riley will celebrate 79th birthday on a Wednesday 20th of March 2024.
Find out about Pat Riley birthday activities in timeline view here.