A Family Of Athletes
Patrick Riley was born in 1945 in Schenectady, New York, where he attended Linton High School. His was an athletic family; his father, Leon "Lee" Riley, was a professional baseball player. He played catcher and outfielder for the Philadelphia Blue Jays in 1944. Leon Riley went on to become a manager for the Blue Jays organization in the minor leagues. Pat Riley's brother Lee was also an athlete. He played football for the National Football League's Detroit Lions, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the New York Giants from 1955-60. Lee also played for the American Football League's New York Titans in 1961-62.
In high school, Pat Riley excelled in both baseball and basketball. After graduating from high school, Riley went on to the University of Kentucky in 1963, where he became a star basketball player, earning the school team's Most Valuable Player award three times. He graduated from Kentucky in 1967.
After graduating from college, Riley was picked in the first round of selections to play for the San Diego Rockets basketball team during that team's first season, 1967-68. He played with the Rockets for three seasons before joining the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970-71 season; he played with the Lakers for five years. During his first season with the Lakers, the team won 33 games in a row, at the time an NBA record. The Lakers also went on that year to win the NBA championship. In 1976, Riley spent his last year as a player with the Phoenix Suns.