The Miami Heat are currently the most pleasant surprise in the playoffs, and despite losing to the Bucks last night, they are still up 3-1 in the series and very close to making it to the ECF. Their roster has a great combination of young, talented players and experienced veterans, and on top of that, they are all well-coached by Erik Spoelstra. However, none of that would be possible if it wasn’t for the leading architect behind Heat’s success, Pat Riley who is also known as ‘The Godfather’.
Hall-of-Fame coach and now President of the Miami Heat organization is truly one of a kind personality and one of the most successful coaches in NBA history. Wearing expensive suits and having impeccable style to go on top of his immense knowledge about the game, Riley created successful teams wherever he coached.
One of the things that he always brought was toughness, and this is something that was usually imprinted on all of the teams he coached. Despite playing beautifully on offense, the’ Showtime Lakers’ were an intimidating team who had the rule to put a man on his back if they saw him driving to the basket. The same thing later applied for other teams he coached in the ’90s: the New York Knicks and Miami Heat.
He makes us play as a unit, and that is what plays an important part. He knows if we don’t play as a unit with all the talent we have, we can’t win.Magic Johnson
Even though Riley was extremely successful, he always remained humble and believed both success and failure are crucial things in everyday life. Riley was extremely methodical in his approach to running teams, either if it’s through coaching or running the team from a management perspective. The process of failure and success that brings you to the ultimate prize was the part he enjoyed the most during all of his championship runs.
There is a thin line between success and failure. We have miniature successes and failures every day. Winning a championship is only a freeing moment. The enjoyment is the process of getting there, and you can’t always measure success by how high you finish or how much money you have. The only way how you can measure success is how you feel about yourself.Pat Riley
Throughout his career, Riley was wholly dedicated and worked to get the best out of his teams and himself. Luckily he, loved what he was doing, and he thinks more people should follow his principle of living for their work, especially if they love what they do.
I don’t think you should ever work just to make a living, you have to live for your work.Pat Riley
In the eyes of the public, Riley established himself as a sort of a pop culture figure. Looking like a character from gangster movies, Riley got the nickname ‘The Godfather’ because of his appearance and demeanor both on and off the court. In the same fashion, he is now observing the current Heat squad of running and gunning for a potential championship. Times have definitely changed, but you can see this teams’ mentality is similar to Riley’s teams coached decades ago.