Pat Riley is an NBA legend. He has won a total of nine championships (and counting) during his basketball career. He won his first ring as a player, though he is better-known for his success as a coach and an executive. Riley’s three most recent chips have come with the Miami Heat organization. Despite speculation over a potential retirement announcement, Riley has made it clear that he will continue in his role as a Miami Heat executive for the time being. Can he win one more ring with the Heat this season?
Pat Riley is One of the Most Successful Coaches Ever
Riley is indisputably one of the greatest and most successful head coaches ever. He won his first ring as a coach with Lakers in 1980, just eight years after winning a ring as a player for the franchise. He quickly became the Lakers’ head coach, and lead the franchise to championships in 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988. He stepped down in 1990, later taking up the head coaching position of the New York Knicks in 1991. His time with the Knicks was successful, though he did not win another championship with the team.
Joining the Miami Heat
Among younger fans, Pat Riley is better-known for his association with the Miami Heat. Riley left the Knicks to join the Heat in 1995. The move was controversial, as he still had a year left on his contract with the Knicks. The Heat eventually agreed to send their 1996 first-round pick and $1 million in cash to the Knicks in compensation.
Riley was not only the head coach of the Heat, he had total control of basketball operations. He set about creating a winning franchise in Miami, a city whose NBA fans had little to cheer for before Riley joined the club.
Riley quickly made the Heat a playoff team, but they were not seen as legitimate contenders for many years. He stepped down from the head coaching position in 2003 to focus on basketball operations. However, he named himself head coach again after Stan Van Gundy’s resignation in 2005. The Heat finally won their first championship under Pat Riley in 2006, who had acquired and coached key players like Shaquille O’Neal and Dwayne Wade.
Riley again stepped down from the head coaching position in 2008 to focus on basketball operations. He named assistant coach Erik Spoelstra as his successor. This proved to be yet another masterstroke by Riley, as Spoelstra quickly became one of the best coaches in the league.
2008-Present: Riley’s Successful Tenure as Heat Executive Continues
Spoelstra and Riley quickly established a positive dynamic. The Heat were able to put together one of the greatest superteams in NBA history in 2010 when Lebron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwayne Wade in Miami. Spoelstra and Riley won two more championships in 2012 and 2013.
The Heat have not won a championship since 2013. They have been a playoff team for most of this period. They even made it to the NBA Finals in 2020, though they lost to the Lakers.
The Heat are Dark-Horse Contenders This Season
The Heat made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, only to lose to the Boston Celtics. Many NBA pundits have given the Heat little chance to win another championship last year. However, most Heat fans see the team as a dark-horse contender. According to Everygame, the Heat’s odds of winning a championship this year are currently +1400. However, Pat Riley will certainly feel that his chances of winning one more ring are better than that. After all, he’s been a serial winner throughout his career.