Pat Riley is widely regarded as one of the greatest NBA coaches in the history of the league. But his legacy reigns beyond just being a coach. Riley has been a player, assistant coach, head coach and an executive with various teams. His 10 championship tally includes a ring in each of the roles. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008 for his exceptional contribution to his team as a coach.
"That's not how I'm going to end my career" - Miami Heat president and ex LA Lakers coach Pat Riley
However, his path to glory was engraved with conflict. A man hounded by the desire to win in every role locked horns with many strong-willed players as a head coach and an executive. In an article authored by Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, Riley shared his desire to mend all broken bonds with these players:
“I do not ever want to run into Shaquille or run into Dwyane or into Magic or Chris somewhere and not be able to go up and give ‘em a hug,” Riley said. “That’s not how I’m going to end my career, my life.”
However, he has made peace with these players. He will be presenting Bosh for the enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, MA.
As a head coach with the LA Lakers in the 80s, Pat Riley famously clashed with Magic Johnson. In a Sun Sentinel article dated November 8, 1991, the former Laker showed concern and pride in Magic's decision to retire and fight the battle against AIDS.
"We want to now give him all the love and support and prayers we can, as well as to all the other people who are afflicted by this insidious disease. He's a man who I believe will champion the fight as he has done for professional basketball," said Riley in the aforementioned article.
During his time with the Miami Heat, their former coach is credited with forming the famous LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh trio. Pat Riley also reportedly retired both Bosh and Wade's jerseys post their respective retirements.