Born in New York in 1945, Pat Riley participated in both basketball and football, playing professionally with the San Diego Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers. He helped the latter win the NBA title as a player in 1972, and then coached the team to championships in 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988. He later won more NBA championships as a coach and executive with the Miami Heat.
Early Life and Career
Famed basketball coach Pat Riley was born Patrick James Riley on March 20, 1945, in Rome, New York. As a student at the University of Kentucky, Riley participated in both basketball and football, playing professionally with the San Diego Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers. He helped the latter win the NBA title in 1972 before retiring from play in 1976.
L.A. Lakers and New York Knicks Coach
Riley returned to the Lakers as an assistant coach in 1980, leading the team to the NBA Finals as head coach in 1983, 1984 and 1986. Riding the sublime talents of superstars Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Riley and his Lakers were crowned NBA champions in 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988.
In 1990, amid rumors of player mistreatment and anger problems, Riley stepped down as coach of the Lakers. Despite this, he was named NBA Coach of the Year.
After a brief stint as an NBC commentator, Riley became head coach for the New York Knicks in 1991. He was named Coach of the Year in 1993 and took the team to the NBA Finals in 1994.
Miami Heat Coach and President
In 1995, Riley resigned his post with the Knicks and became head coach and president of the Miami Heat, where he was named Coach of the Year again in 1997. After stepping down as coach for several years to concentrate on his executive duties, he returned to the sidelines and won his fifth championship as a head coach in 2006.
Riley officially retired from coaching in 2008, but he wasn't finished making his mark as the Heat president. After he acquired superstar LeBron James to team with all-star guard Dwyane Wade in 2010, Miami advanced to four consecutive NBA finals, winning the title twice.
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