Pat Riley

Category: Coaches, NBA
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Sports Speaker Pat Riley is the smooth-operating former professional basketball player, successful NBA coach and now President of the talented Miami Heat franchise. In his early career, he played for the University of Kentucky football and basketball team in 1988 and won numerous accolades including First Team All-SEC and All-NCAA Tournament Team selections, and an SEC Player of the Year award. He was also the only player to achieve two or more First Team All-SEC teams.

During the first round of the 1967 NBA Draft, Pat was selected by the San Diego Rockets and also drafted in the NFL by the Dallas Cowboys in the eleventh round. He later went on to join the Portland Trail Blazers, but was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers where he helped bring home the 1972 NBA Championship. In 1977, Pat returned to the NBA as a broadcaster for the Lakers. It wasn’t long after that before he took over one of the assistant coaching positions for the Lakers under head coach Paul Westhead. This lead to his first of five NBA championship rings for this storied NBA legend.

In 1987, Pat was privileged to coach a team that was considered to be the best of all time. Some of this dream team included Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That same year, the team managed to secure an NBA title and become the first team in nineteen years to repeat as champions. The next year he obtained another NBA championship title achieving his goal of a “three-peat”. Pat is one of five men to play for an NBA Championship team as well as coach the same team to a championship. He was also named NBA Coach of the Year for the first time in 1989-90 Laker season. In 1993, he received his second Coach of the Year award after he led the New York Knicks to their best regular season record in team history.

Pat became the first coach to participate in NBA Finals Game 7 with two different teams in 1994.  Later, he began coaching the Miami Heat and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in 1997 for the first time in the history of the franchise. For the third time, he was named Coach of the Year. In 2003, he stepped off the court and into the position of General Manager. Pat later became president where he was responsible for acquiring LeBron James and Chris Bosh to form the “Big 3” with Dwayne Wade. In 2008, Pat was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Pat has successfully published two New York Times best sellers books. In 1988, his first book entitled Showtime: Inside the Lakers’ Breakthrough Season did a recap on the Lakers successful journey to the NBA Championship. He went on to publish another bestseller in 1993 while coaching for the New York Knicks. The book entitled The Winner Within: A Life Plan for Team Players distilled lessons in teamwork and leadership aimed for basketball fanatics and business readership.