Friday, February 15, 2008

Pat Riley - Hall of Fame Finalist

per the Sun-Sentinel:,0,3210418.story

South Florida
Pat Riley named Hall of
Fame finalist
By Ira Winderman

3:10 PM EST,
February 15, 2008

Heat coach Pat Riley was one of 15 finalists named
Friday for potential induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

in his first year of eligibility, now needs a minimum of 18 of the 24 votes from
the Hall's Honors Committee for enshrinement.

The Hall's Class of 2008
will be announced on April 7, prior to the NCAA Men's Division I championship
game in San Antonio. Enshrinement will be at the Naismith Memorial Basketball
Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., Sept. 4-6, 2008.

Riley addressed the
possibility before the Heat played Thursday night in Chicago.

"When I
started my career, I was one of the fortunate ones," he said of breaking in with
a Los Angeles Lakers team that included Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and
James Worthy. "I started with a great team, great players, all of them Hall of
Famers or going to be, and it just sort of jump-started me.

"In New York
I had great players. Here I've had great players."

The 15 finalists
include 10 candidates from the North American Screening Committee: former
players Patrick Ewing, Adrian Dantley, Dennis Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Chris
Mullin; coaches Don Nelson and Riley; and contributors Victor Bubas, Bill
Davidson and Dick Vitale.

In a statement released by the Heat, Riley
noted the opportunity to be inducted alongside Ewing, the cornerstone of his
Knicks teams.

"Having Patrick Ewing inducted with me would be
incredible," he said. "To have one of my favorite all-time players that I
coached be inducted at the same time, if it were possible for both of us, would
have a special added meaning for me."

Named finalists by the Veteran's
Screening Committee were former players Richie Guerin and Johnny 'Red' Kerr. The
International Screening Committee forwarded the names of two Brazilians, coach
Togo Soares and player Maciel Ubiratan Pereira, while the Women's Screening
Committee nominated coach Cathy Rush.

Riley said the nomination for
induction made him reflect back to his father, Lee, who never got to see him

"It is meaningful from the standpoint that I believe that I have
made my father very, very happy," he said. "And that would be the most
meaningful feeling that I would have from it, that he would know that what I did
mattered and counted in my career as a coach."

Riley stands as the third
winningest coach in NBA regular-season history, at 1,204-669, and ranks second
in playoff victories, at 171-111. He has earned seven NBA champion rings -- five
as a head coach, one as an assistant coach and one as a player.

He was
able to bypass the traditional five-year waiting period because he has coached
for more than 25 seasons. If elected, Riley would join coaches such as Red
Auerbach, Lenny Wilkens and Phil Jackson in the Hall.

"All I did from
day to day is coach," Riley said. "That's what my job was, that's what my
passion was, and the fact that now it's something I'm being considered for is
just mind blowing to me, that I would ever be in that kind of company."

Riles should be a shoo-in and will surely deserve it. Ewing & Hakeem also should be unanimous.


Mel Gibson said...

I knew a guy who had that pic of Riley with the rings as his avatar on this really cool message board site about basketball.

That guy is cool.

Lane said...

thanks Sugartits