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Five Fun Facts About Basketball’s Pat Riley

Filed under: 5 Fun Facts — by Mark on August 12, 2013

Pat Riley has really left his mark on the NBA. He came out of the University of Kentucky and put together a nine year NBA career as a player. He moved right into coaching, first as an assistant with and then as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. He would later serve as the head coach of the New York Knicks as well as the Miami Heat. He has also been a front office force in Miami too. Here are five fun facts about Pat Riley.

Four Team Career

Pat Riley got his start in the NBA playing for the San Diego Rockets in their first season in 1967-68. After three seasons there, and just one season before the team relocated to Houston, he would move on to a new team. On May 11, 1970, the expansion Portland Trail Blazers selected Pat Riley from the Rockets in the 1970 NBA Expansion Draft. Five months later, before ever stepping on the court for Portland, Riley’s contract would be sold to the Los Angeles Lakers. After four seasons in L.A., Riley would be traded to the Phoenix Suns before the 1975-76 season. After that one year there he would call it a career and move into the broadcast booth with the Lakers.

Are You Ready For Some Football?

The Dallas Cowboys drafted Pat Riley as a wide receiver in the 11th round of the 1967 NFL Draft though he never gave a lot of thought to attempting a football career.

A Lot Of First Place Finishes

In 24 seasons as an NBA head coach including nine with the Lakers, four with the Knicks, and 11 with the Heat, Pat Riley’s teams finished in first place in their division 17 times.

The Last Games

Pat Riley’s last game as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers was a 106-103 loss to the Phoenix Suns in the 1990 NBA Playoffs. His last game as head coach of the New York Knicks was a 97-95 loss to the Indiana Pacers in the 1995 NBA Playoffs. Riley’s last game as head coach of the Miami Heat was a 113-99 win over the Atlanta Hawks in the final game of the 2007-08 regular season.


1990 saw Sega come out with a video game meant for their Sega Genesis player called Pat Riley Basketball. Riley was the head coach of the Lakers at the time and a photo of him on the sidelines was used on the game cover. The 1990 version was the only edition of the game ever made.

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