Lakers News: Pat Riley & Phil Jackson Voted Among 15 Best Coaches In NBA History
Phil Jackson
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Riley and Phil Jackson represent the Los Angeles Lakers among the NBA’s best 15 coaches of all time, the league revealed on Tuesday in honor of the 75th anniversary season.

As head coaches, Riley and Jackson led L.A. to over a half of the franchise’s championship triumphs.

The former first won an NBA title with the Purple and Gold as a player. Alongside the likes of Gail Goodrich, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, or Elgin Baylor, Riley was part of the 1971-72 Lakers team — perhaps the greatest Lakers side ever assembled.

Seven years later, he joined the Lakers’ coaching staff in 1979 as an assistant, winning the first NBA title of the Showtime era under head coach Paul Westhead in 1979-80.

Riley took charge of the team in 1981-82 after a spat with Magic Johnson led to Westhead’s firing. He triumphed with the Lakers that season — and would do so three more times later that decade, in 1985, 1987, and 1988.

Jackson had won six titles with the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls before his reign in L.A. began back in 1999. Just as Riley, he claimed the NBA title in his first season as Lakers head coach, which would turn out to be the beginning of the Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal era’s famous three-peat.

The Purple and Gold fired Jackson after the lost 2004 NBA Finals — the first Finals defeat of his coaching career at that point. But he would reclaim his position the following year before winning two more NBA championships with the Lakers: in 2009 and 2010.

Riley and Jackson remain one of just 10 NBA coaches to win over 1,000 games during their careers. Jackson ranks seventh with 1,155 wins, two spots behind Riley and his 1,210 victories.

K.C. Jones featured among them on the NBA’s list. Jones served as Bill Sharman’s assistant during Riley and the 1971-72 Lakers’ title triumph. He would then lead the Boston Celtics to victories in 1984, beating L.A. in the Finals, and 1986.

Don Nelson also made the list. Nelson played for the Lakers between 1963-1965.

NBA’s list of 15 greatest coaches in league history

Red Auerbach
Chuck Daly
Phil Jackson
Pat Riley
Lenny Wilkens
Larry Brown
Red Holzman
K.C. Jones
Don Nelson
Jack Ramsay
Steve Kerr
Gregg Popovich
Doc Rivers
Jerry Sloan
Erik Spoelstra

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