Monday, November 14, 2011

SIGnificant Cards - 2003-04 Pat Riley Upper Deck Legends Basketball

I'm pretty sure that when the average person is asked about NBA coaches that Pat Riley's name pops into their heads. He might not be the first choice for older NBA fans. Red Auerbach, Don Nelson or Phil Jackson are among some of the other well known coaches that could be considered the very best. However there was a special flair with Riley that made him a household name, as much, if not more than some of his players. Riley has five NBA championships under his belt, and has won the NBA coach of the year honors three times with three different teams.

His years with the Lakers and the Knicks provided many a headline, and his work with the Miami Heat brought that franchise its most recent NBA title.

Riley though is much more than just a coach. He was also a player, and a 1st round draft pick to boot. Selected 7th overall out of Tennessee, he enjoyed playing for nearly a decade with San Diego, Los Angeles and Phoenix. He got his first taste of championships winning one in 1972 with the Lakers.

While his stats on the court might not have been Hall of Fame worthy, his autograph most certainly is worth adding to any collection. Riley has done it all. He's a television commentator, author, coach, motivational speaker, and the guy is well known for his fashion etiquette. You probably couldn't tell by the 70s era photo on the card. He looks more like a gym teacher or race-car driver. Saying he is just a coach is kind of like saying Filet Mignon is just another slab of beef.

Many despise him, many love him, but you can't deny the man and his accomplishments. Finding this card in a pack was a great collecting moment for me, especially as a fan of Riley and many of the great players that he has coached. Yeah, I rooted for those Patrick Ewing led Knicks teams and it killed me every single time they choked...

Anyway, I pulled this sweet sig of Pat Riley out of a box of 2003-04 Upper Deck Legends Basketball, a product that is loaded with great, easy to acquire autos of some of the all-time hardwood icons. It is card #LS-PR and there isn't a sticker in sight.

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