I know Patrick Riley about as well as any sports coach there ever was. The reason this is so, is because my mom always had a crush on "Pat"; she loved his slicked back hair and his carrot colored tan. What my mom didn't realize however, is that this man is affiliated with the "Gang of 33" if you will. Let us begin with Patrick Riley's name.
- Patrick = 7+1+2+9+9+3+2 = 33
- James = 1+1+4+5+1 = 12, reduces to 3
- Riley = 9+9+3+5+7 = 33
- Patrick James Riley = 33 3 33
Patrick Riley was born in Rome, New York on March 20, 1945, and raised in Schenectady. His father, Leon Riley, played twenty-two seasons of minor league baseball as an outfielder and first baseman, and appeared in four games for the 1944 Philadelphia Phillies.
- Schenectady = 1+3+8+5+5+5+3+2+1+4+7 = 44
- Perhaps 4 games on the '44 Phillies isn't a coincidence
- Junior = 1+3+5+9+6+9 = 33
- Portland is located in the 33rd State Oregon
- Phoenix is located on the 33rd Parallel North
Six games into the 1981–82 season, Magic Johnson said he wished to be traded because he was unhappy playing for Westhead. Shortly afterward, Lakers' owner Jerry Buss fired Westhead. At an ensuing press conference, with Jerry West at his side, Buss named West head coach. West, however, balked, and Buss awkwardly tried to name West as "offensive captain" and then named West and Riley as co-coaches. West made it clear during the press conference that he would only assist Riley, and that Riley was the head coach. Thereafter, Riley was the interim head coach, until his status became permanent.
- Magic = 13+1+7+9+3 = 33
Riley led the Lakers to four consecutive NBA Finals appearances. His first title came in his first season, against the Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams returned to the Finals the next year, but Riley's Lakers were swept by the 76ers. The Lakers lost in the Finals again in 1984, to the Boston Celtics in seven games. The Lakers earned Riley his second NBA title in 1985 in a rematch of the previous year, as the Lakers beat the Celtics in six games. The Lakers' four-year Western Conference streak was broken the following year by the Houston Rockets.
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Boston = 2+6+1+2+6+5 = 22
- Massachusetts = 4+1+1+1+1+3+8+3+1+5+2+2+1 = 33
- Delaware, Massachusetts, Hawaii = The Three 33-States
In 1987, Riley coached a Lakers team that is considered one of the best teams of all-time. With future Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, plus Michael Cooper, Byron Scott, A. C. Green, Mychal Thompson, and Kurt Rambis, the Lakers finished 65–17 in the regular season, third-best in team history. They met with similar success in the playoffs, dispatching the Celtics in six games to win Riley his third NBA title.
One of Riley's most famous moments came when he guaranteed the crowd a repeat championship during the Lakers' championship parade in downtown Los Angeles (he first made the guarantee during the post-victory locker room celebration). While the 1988 Lakers did not produce as many wins in the regular season as the 1987 Lakers, they still managed to win the NBA title, becoming the first team in 19 years to repeat as champions. The Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons in seven games in the 1988 NBA Finals, making good on Riley's promise. Riley's titles with the Lakers make him the fifth man to play for an NBA Championship team and later coach the same NBA team to a championship.
In 1989, Patrick Riley would invent and trademark the term "Three-Peat"; which the Chicago Bulls with the leadership of Michael Jordan, and the Los Angeles Lakers, with the leadership of Kobe Bryant, would go on to later achieve. Currently Patrick Riley sits atop the Miami Heat, a team that has an opportunity to earn the title of "Three-Peat" at the end of this season, under the leadership of LeBron James.
- If I were a betting man, I'd bet on a "Heat-Three-Peat" in 2014.