This year marks Pat Riley‘s 20th anniversary with the Miami Heat, and owner Mickey Arison threw him a bash fit for a king while they and others were vacationing together in Portofino, Italy. It was a star-studded event that, according to Arison’s Instagram account, also included actor Samuel L. Jackson and Riley’s former point guard Magic Johnson.
During his tenure as president of the Heat, Riley was able to acquire Shaquille O’Neal from the Lakers, which led directly to the Heat’s 2006 championship, and was later able to assemble The Big 3 of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, a team that won two consecutive titles and made four straight NBA Finals appearances.
Since he’s taken over, they’ve also got the third most wins in the NBA, including the playoffs.
He also orchestrated the largest trade in NBA history.
Even after LeBron decided to return to Cleveland last summer, Riley was somehow able to retrofit the roster immediately without going into full rebuild mode. He re-signed Bosh to a long-term deal and made him the new centerpiece of the franchise, convinced Wade to take less money on more than one occasion, took a chance on Hassan Whiteside that is paying tremendous dividends, landed Goran Dragic at the trade deadline, and somehow had Justise Winslow fall into his lap in the 2015 NBA Draft, all of which have the Heat poised to make a legitimate run at the Eastern Conference crown.
So yeah, the organization has a lot to celebrate, and they owe most of it to Riley.