Tuesday, March 18, 2014

33 League | The NBA and Patrick "Pat" Riley


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
Among his many accomplishments, one stands alone:  he is the only person in the history of sports to win a national championship as a collegiate athlete, professional athlete, coach, and owner/general manager.

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
Riley was a versatile athlete in college, participating in both basketball and football. As a junior on the University of Kentucky basketball team in 1966 he was named First Team All-SEC, All-NCAA Tournament Team, NCAA Regional Player of the Year, SEC Player of the Year & AP Third Team All-American, leading the Wildcats to the NCAA title game.
  • Junior = 1+3+5+9+6+9 = 33
After his senior year at Kentucky, he was selected by the San Diego Rockets in the 1st round of the 1967 NBA Draft, and was also drafted as a wide receiver by the Dallas Cowboys in the 11th round of the 1967 NFL Draft. He joined the Rockets and was later selected by the Portland Trail Blazers, in the 1970 NBA expansion draft, but immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, which he helped toward the 1972 NBA Championship both by coming off the bench in games and guarding friend and legendary Laker guard Jerry West in practice. Despite this, overall, his playing career was undistinguished, as he was a perennial bench player. He retired after the 1975-76 NBA season as a member of the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns.
  • Portland is located in the 33rd State Oregon
  • Phoenix is located on the 33rd Parallel North
Riley returned to the NBA in 1977 as a broadcaster for the Lakers. During the 1979–80 season, when the team's head coach, Jack McKinney, was injured during a near fatal bicycle accident, assistant coach Paul Westhead took over the team's head coaching duties. Riley then moved from the broadcast booth to the bench as one of Westhead's assistant coaches.

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.
Please read the following articles about Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James by clicking the hyperlinks to better understand the significance of "33" and the "rigged" National Basketball Association.  Also, please note that these articles are not dismissing the talent of Michael, Kobe or LeBron; instead they are shedding light on why the league is purposefully helping them win NBA Championships.