Jerry West Digital Collection

Pat Riley

Oral History Clips

Pat Riley
Jonathan Coleman
Interview Date Tesim:
PR:    I just know that he taught me a lot. When I really look back on my career as a player... when I ended up coming to the Lakers, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. The first four years that I was there and being his teammate was one of the best things that ever happened to me and taught me a sense of professionalism and what it took, the competitiveness. I probably picked up some of the characteristics from him about how I'd be miserable after you lose games. And the opportunities... you have a tendency to model yourself after people, and I watched him very closely when he was coaching. Those three years, I was a broadcaster, and he was coaching. I watched his demeanor, the fact that he was always in a coat and tie, was very respectful of the word "Coach"... and his demeanor on the court, how he dealt with players. So when I became head coach, he was the model for me and the fact that I was there all those years with him... and he was basically my number one counsel. He was not overbearing, and he gave me a lot. I always take that with me. I will carry inside of me Jerry West forever. There's a part of him that's inside him because we shared something in our life that was very special, and still is very special to us, as a common bond about competition and about competitiveness and about caring about things. His approach and his reaction to a lot of things, I think, might be a lot different than mine, but I've had nothing but the most
respect and admiration for him. It will always be that way. There isn't any one incident, because we had so many. Moments, fun, games, laughs, championships... I just remember the thing that would stand out most was in those moments of absolute glory in the 1980s, he would disappear. "Where is he? Where did Jerry go?" He would leave. We'd have a party and be celebrating with bubbling champagne, and there'd be the parade. Next thing you know, he'd be gone. It happened a lot. He'd always be there, but then he would leave . "Enough is enough, or something. I don't think he did it for anything else other than after a while it might just have been too much for him, too emotional, or he got annoyed by it Or, "You guys are partying too hard. You should realize you've got to win another one next year. What the hell is this about? What 's so special about this?" I remember after we won the championship in 1987 and we had beaten the Celtics. I saw him the next day, and he said, "You know what? You know who 's in here this morning? Mychal Thompson was in here at seven o'clock, lifting weights in the weight room." The morning after we won the title. We went out and stayed out all god damn night, and I didn't wake up for two days. I remember him saying something about, "This is what it's all about: Getting ready the very next day."
A&M 3884; Series 13
Author Jonathan Coleman interviewed Pat Riley for the book, Jerry West: My Charmed, Tormented Life. Riley is an American professional basketball executive and former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. In this clip, Riley describes Jerry West's impact on him and how West handled success.
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Personal Names:
West, Jerry, 1938- and Riley, Patrick
Oral Histories