Skip to main content

Magic Johnson warned Doc Rivers that Pat Riley would end his career

Pat-Riley-Doc-Rivers

He started as the coach of the Showtime Lakers, but Pat Riley was always a blue-collar kind of a guy. All about tough, uncompromising commitment to leave everything on the floor, every single time. For Riley, if you weren't on the operating table, you were good to go.

Total sacrifice

We've all heard plenty about the Heat way, the body fat limits, and the militaristic organizational style Pat Riley enforces in Miami. Riley had the same mindset with the Knicks but couldn't enforce it to the extent he does in Miami. Still, players around the league knew what playing for Riley meant.

Dirk Nowitzki recently said he wonders if he should've retired a few years earlier. Unfortunately, he played on bad ankles and is dealing with the consequences to this day. Something as simple as playing a bit of soccer with his kids is a fantasy for Dirk. It's hard to know when it's time to say you're done, and some players pay the price. Unlike most, Doc Rivers was warned.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

He got traded from the Clippers with Charles Smith. He was working out with Magic Johnson and James Worthy when he got the call. Magic told him right then and there, minutes after he got traded "He's gonna kill your career. You might win a title, but physically you won't have anything left."

Chris Herring, Bring It In

In 1993, Doc tore his ACL. To this day, you can see a limp in Doc's walking pattern, and playing for Pat Riley is a big reason why. He finished his career with the Spurs, but the miles Pat put on his body in those two years with the Knicks are like at least four years with anyone else.

Riley's heir

Funny enough, the current coach of the Knicks is Riley's heir apparent in that regard. The phrase Thibs minutes is well known around the league - just ask Luol Deng or Jimmy Butler. The latter found a home in Riley's Heat culture, and even Butler publicly appealed to Thibs to consider reducing the workload in Minessota.

Players think about longevity a lot more these days, and signing up for a coach that takes away years of your career is a much larger factor than it used to be. That's an under-analyzed part of all the speculation around Zion Williamson joining the Knicks. Are we sure we want one of the most injury-prone players in the league playing under Tom Thibodeau?

Thibs might help Zion establish more discipline when it comes to being in shape, but the science is clear. Rest is the best measure in preventing serious injuries. As much as Thibs tried to convince everyone he's changed during his hiatus, the numbers say otherwise.

Los Angeles Clippers guard John Wall

“I would have been starting or I would have been playing big minutes” — John Wall on if he didn’t sign with the Los Angeles Clippers

Wall apparently understood that taking his talents to L.A. meant sacrificing a potentially more substantial role elsewhere

Shaquille O'Neal and Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis

"AD is balling, he's dominating" — Shaquille O'Neal speaks on Anthony Davis' recent play

NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal sat down to discuss the recent dominant play from Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis.

Stephen A. Smith

"Kobe was a better individual talent, but Magic got everyone else better" — Stephen A Smith leaves Kobe Bryant out of his top five all-time list

ESPN's Stephen A Smith discussed leaving out Los Angles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant from his all-time top-five list.

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan explains why he'd rather take on Steph Curry 1-on-1 instead of LeBron James

In 2019, Jordan claimed that Steph wasn't a Hall of Fame candidate yet but took it back 2 years later.

Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen

"I got plenty of clothes with me" — when Scottie Pippen reiterated his trade request on live TV

Scottie Pippen and the Phoenix Suns engaged in outright tampering, and no one batted an eye.

Cedric Maxwell realized what made Larry Bird special on their first practice together

"Hey mop boy, go run and find the scoring record in this building" — how Larry Bird got himself fired up before games

Larry Legend would always go the extra mile to find little ways to motivate himself for a game.