On This Day (March 20)
Notable events from NBA history that occurred on March 20.
Pat Riley’s Birthday
On this day in 1945, Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley was born in Rome, New York. A five-time NBA champion and three-time Coach of the Year Award winner, Riley had career records of 1,210-694 (.636) in the regular season and 171-111 (.606) in the postseason.
Riley ranks fifth and second, respectively, on the NBA’s all-time lists for regular season and postseason wins. Only two coaches in NBA history have won more championships:
11 — Phil Jackson
9 — Red Auerbach
5 — Pat Riley
5 — Gregg Popovich
5 — John Kundla
Riley is one of only three coaches to win at least one NBA title with two different franchises:
Alex Hannum (St. Louis Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers)
Pat Riley (Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat)
Phil Jackson (Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers)
Riley (New York Knicks) and Hannum (San Francisco Warriors) are the only coaches to lead three different franchises to an NBA Finals appearance.
Riley won 17 division titles, four more than any other coach in NBA history. Since the NBA began conference play in 1970-71, Riley’s nine conference titles rank second only to Phil Jackson (13).
Riley won at least 60 games seven times, tied with Phil Jackson for the most such seasons in NBA history. Riley and Jackson are also tied for the second-most 50-win seasons with 17 (Gregg Popovich is the leader with 19 such seasons).
Riley has had a successful career as an executive with the Heat since retiring as a coach, winning back-to-back NBA titles in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Riley was named Executive of the Year following the 2010-11 season, making him one of only four people to win both the Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year Awards (Red Auerbach, Frank Layden, and Larry Bird are the others).
The seventh overall pick in the 1967 NBA Draft, Riley appeared in 528 games as a player, averaging 7.4 PPG. He won an NBA title playing for the Lakers in 1971-72.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Statitudes to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.