Pat Riley is a masterful motivator and the one with every trick up his sleeve in regards to closing deals. When it comes to NBA’s head-coaching Mount Rushmore, there’s no doubt – Riley should be up there. His collection of hardware is what makes him all-time great. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s not what makes him iconic, in my eyes, at least.
There’s so much more when it comes to Pat. That’s why my first association on him is not his nine championship rings nor his three Coach of the Year awards. Instead, it’s a specific anecdote, such as when he put his head in a bucket of ice. That’s what is all about with Pat – it’s the stories.
His life is an infinite pool of stories waiting to be told and retold. Everyone’s is, but none will be a more entertaining one than Pat’s. He probably won’t be the one who’s going to tell them, but lucky for us, players who played for him will. So here’s one, courtesy of Eddie House.
“Ricky Davis breaks his foot in practice. The whole time he’s supposed to be coming for treatment. He’s not showing up to practice, and he’s not showing before the games; he’s just staying at home, and he’s getting fined every day. He has no idea. Every single day, I don’t know how long did he miss. Finally, after the game, we’re coming from a road game, and Pat’s like ‘hey guys, we’re gonna take a little detour.‘ As we got off, we realized we were in Atlantic City. We get off the bus, and Ron Culp, who was a trainer at the time, is sitting there with an envelope saying ‘hey guys, compliments of Ricky Davis.‘ Everybody on the team got like a $1000 compliments of Ricky Davis. Ricky had no idea until we got back and we were like ‘thank you, man.‘”Eddie House, In The Zone with Chris Broussard
Classic Riley. He’s known as the guy who requires players to be professional. If that means showing up for practice even though you broke your foot, you better show up for practice. It’s about taking care of one’s profession.
Sure, it may be annoying. It even may seem meaningless. It sure will be time-consuming. But you’ll show the level of respect towards players, your profession, and the whole organization. And you’ll save some money in the process. I bet that’s the route Davis wished he embarked on.
Nevertheless, he did make his teammates happy. And sharing the story, Eddie House will make NBA fans happy. It sure is the epic one.
Compliments of Ricky Davis, and the ingenuity of Pat Riley.
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