While Pat Riley has established a long legacy of winning in the NBA, he’s not short of decisions he could take back and things he would do differently during his coaching career, but if there was something that still haunts him‚ is not winning a ring with the New York Knicks in 1994.
“My biggest disappointment is not being able to win that title in New York, in ’94,” Riley told Harvey Araton of The Vertical. “Sometimes I’ll think about it and it torments me.”
Despite Knicks fans likely resenting him for his decision, he would once again put his trust in John Starks to shoot like a madman in Game 7 against the stacked Houston Rockets, knowing that Starks was his most fearless player. Starks was the man responsible for resuscitating the Knicks in win-or-go-home Game 6 in the Eastern Conference finals against a testy Indiana Pacers side. He was the one who got to the rim at the end of Game 7, drew the help defense which allowed Patrick Ewing to get the put-back basket to save the day.
“To this day, I believe in John [Starks], believe that he’d make two in a row and we’d win,” Riley said.
Riley is a man of his conviction and that is what has made him undoubtedly great as a coach in this sport. The then-Knicks coach wouldn’t get another shot in the upcoming years thanks to Michael Jordan‘s return to the throne, giving nightmares to every Eastern Conference team until his second retirement in 1999 prior to the lockout season.