Riley received the Chuck Daly award in recognition of his career
The National Basketball Coaches Association picked Riley as this year’s receiver of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award, which commemorates the previous Detroit coach’s life in basketball and his “standard of integrity, competitive excellence and tireless promotion” of the game.
Pat Riley is the 5th person to get the award, joining Tommy Heinsohn in 2009, Jack Ramsay and Tex Winter in 2010 and Lenny Wilkens in 2011.
“This isn’t an award,” Riley said. “This is something somebody grants to you. I am extremely honored the coaches association would do this.”
Riley has been part of the NBA for over 40 years, with 1,210 wins and 21 playoff appearances as a chief coach, a great deal of charitable undertakings in Miami, L.A. and N.Y.
“Well, for us as a team, he means a lot,” Heat forward LeBron James said. “You know, he put together this team, and we just look at his resume. We take a look at his knowledge either as a player, as a coach or as an executive. He’s done some good things. … Any insight that he gives you, he’s giving it because of experience. He knows all about it. He’s won at the top level multiple times.”
The award comes with maybe extra significance this year, with so much attention on the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team – the team of NBA stars that went to the 1992 Olympics and won a gold medal, with Daly leading the way as the coach.
“I think the point of view was very clear what that team was and what that team was about,” Riley announced. “He had definite confidence being around these types of players, incredible confidence challenged them in such a way that I don’t think anyone else could have challenged them.”
Riley’s team has some challenges nowadays as well, of course.
The Heat are back in the Finals for the 2nd straight year — and in a touch of irony, Rick Carlisle, who coached the Dallas Mavericks to last year’s championship against Miami, is the president of the association. Carlisle was among the group that selected Riley as this year’s Daly award recipient.
“When it came to coaching, Chuck Daly always felt that Pat Riley was the very best of the best,” Carlisle said. “Chuck was a great admirer of Pat’s formidable power, class and style.”
And style was one of the things Riley and Daly discussed often in the final months of Daly’s life.
Daly was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer early in 2009, and his status rapidly diminished. He spent much of his last weeks and months around friends and family in South Florida – and Riley often made the hour-or-so drive north to see Daly and spend some time with the man he spent so many years coaching against. Internet Sportsbook
The Daly award marks lifetime accomplishment, but Riley hopes that his accomplishments keep coming, that his Miami Heat will deliver what would be the 8th NBA championship of his career as a player, assistant, head coach and executive.