In the 1970s, he could've stood in for Marlon Brando in "The Godfather" —much to the approval of his nickname. In the '80s, he would've flipped to the other side of the law to ride along with Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas in "Miami Vice."
Riley is versatile, as displayed by the success he's had at every stage of his basketball career. Dating back to the mid-1960s, winning has followed Riley wherever he goes.
It has paid large dividends.
Early Life & Playing Career
Patrick James Riley was born in Rome, New York on March 20, 1945, to Mary and Leon Riley. He starred at Linton High School in Schenectady, New York, and chose to play basketball and football at the University of Kentucky.
At UK, the shooting guard was a pivotal part of Adolph Rupp's squad that went to the 1966 NCAA title game. During his career, Riley was as good as anyone:
- First-Team All-American - USBWA (1966)
- Third-Team All-American - AP, UPI (1966)
- SEC Player of the Year - AP (1966)
- No. 42 Retired by Kentucky Wildcats
The NBA player joined San Diego for three seasons until he was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1970 NBA expansion draft. He was immediately dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Riley's playing days in Los Angeles were highlighted by the 1972 NBA championship. He came off the bench to relieve Jerry West.
The American professional basketball player called it quits after the 1975-76 season with the Phoenix Suns.
Pat Riley was a Lakers broadcaster following retirement. He later joined Paul Westhead's coaching staff for the 1979-80 season. Led by a rookie Magic Johnson and legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LA defeated the Philadelphia 76ers to win the NBA title.
Johnson, unhappy with Westhead, requested a trade early in the 1981-82 season. Lakers' owner Jerry Buss fired Westhead and tried to name Jerry West as head coach. West awkwardly deferred head coaching duties to Riley. Riley was named the interim head coach of the Lakers and eventually obtained permanent status.
The basketball coach ushered in the Showtime Lakers, winning four championships, including two over archrival Boston Celtics, and embracing the Hollywood image.
After Los Angeles, Riley was an analyst at NBC before going on to coach the New York Knicks, where he became one of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls' most formidable Eastern Conference opponents.
Riley controversially left the Knicks to become head coach and team president of the Miami Heat in 1995. He coached the Heat for eight years before relieving head coaching duties to assistant coach Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy coached for two seasons and resigned 21 games into the 2005-06 campaign.
Riley took over his previous position as head coach of the Miami Heat and the superstar duo of Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal led the Heat to its first championship in franchise history.
Riley retired from coaching following the 2007-08 season and a decorated career:
- 5x NBA Champion
- 3x NBA Coach of the Year
- 9x NBA All-Star Game Head Coach
- Top 10 Coach in NBA History
Riley's executive career is prided on never tanking and always competing for championships. He built the team he eventually coached to a title, hand-picked Erik Spoelstra as his coaching successor, and won two championships by carefully teaming up Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh in the 2010 offseason.
In 2020, he built another NBA Finals team on after wooing Jimmy Butler to South Beach.
Miami's player development program has been among the league's best. Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro were borderline lottery picks. Adebayo became an All-Star in 2020 and Herro is one of the most promising players in the 2019 NBA Draft class.
The Heat's playoff run in the NBA Bubble during the 2020 postseason took almost everyone by surprise, but not Riley. After having a career, where everything you touch turns to gold, you begin to assume success from the outset. And while the Heat fell short, thanks to a hot Lakers squad, it's impossible to not see Riley's fingerprints on both franchises.
The Heat have nominally had a general manager in Riley's front office tenure, but he has the final say on all basketball-related decisions.
The basketball executive was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. He won the NBA Executive of the Year Award in 2011 and the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
In 26 years under Riley, the Heat have won three championships and only missed the playoffs six times.
Pat Riley Net Worth
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Pat Riley's net worth is estimated to be $120 million, which totally makes sense. It's no surprise the former coach's success has inflated his bank account. The three-time NBA Coach of the Year and his wife Chris Rodstrom are still making plenty to live on in Coral Gables.
"The Godfather" has a championship standard. No matter the circumstances, he's going to put a contending team on the court.
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