The year of 1985 was a huge one for the Los Angeles Lakers. After losing in two straight NBA Finals, the Lakers made sure they didn’t lose a third straight. More importantly, they did so against the hated Boston Celtics, a team that they had never defeated in the Finals.
The Lakers were in the heart of the ‘Showtime’ era with head coach Pat Riley leading a ridiculously talented team. Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy gave the Lakers a nearly unstoppable trio to go up against Larry Bird and the Celtics.
One thing Riley was always known for as a coach were his impeccable suits. He was always extremely well-dressed on the sidelines. In a recent ESPN the Magazine article by Wright Thompson, Riley revealed that he nearly wore a special suit just for the Celtics in Game 6 of the Finals:
In 1985, for Game 6 of the Finals, he wanted to wear a white tuxedo and a shamrock bow tie in Boston — “a lot more hubris then,” he says
The idea of Riley coming out in Boston with an all-white tuxedo and shamrock tie as the Lakers finally exorcised their demons and defeated the Celtics in the Finals would have gone down as one of the greatest troll jobs in the history of professional sports.
As Riley noted, he was a lot more arrogant at that time. Additionally, Celtics general manager Red Auerbach was known for smoking victory cigars when the Celtics were clinching titles so Riley’s suit would have been his own version of that.
Ideas like this just show how serious the Lakers-Celtics rivalry was at that time. Riley may have been talked out of wearing the suit, but the fact that he even planned on doing something like that is proof as to how much he wanted to rub it in the Celtics’ face.