Miami: Miami Heat president Pat Riley has been conferred the National Basketball Coaches Association Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award.
Riley, 67, was honoured during Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Miami ahead 2-1 in the series.
Tommy Heinsohn (2009), Jack Ramsay and Tex Winter (2010) and Lenny Wilkens (2011) won previously. The award is named in memory of the long-time Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly, who also was coach of the first Dream Team, 20 years ago at the Olympics.
Riley expressed genuine appreciation for Daly.
"I`ll never forget coach and what he meant to the game and what he meant to me, and his lovely wife Terry and daughter Cydney and his friends," Riley said of Daly.
Their relationship began in the mid-1960s when Riley played for Kentucky and Daly was an assistant coach at Duke.
"Chuck was a winner," Riley was quoted as saying. "He was a fierce competitor, and I think his greatest strength that I learned from him later on was his picture of the world and how he saw human nature in players and how he could get the best out of them."
They competed against each other in the NBA Finals in the late 1980s when Riley coached the Lakers and Daly coached the Pistons.
"I was a very young coach, and Chuck had 15 years of wisdom," Riley said. "There was so much I learned from competing against him. I loved spending time with Chuck Daly."
The Lakers beat the Pistons in 1988, and the Pistons beat the Lakers the following season.
"The Lakers made me," Riley said. "I didn`t know what I was doing in the `80s. They waited for me to become a good coach."
Riley coached in the NBA for 24 seasons, compiling a 1210-694 regular-season record and five league championships - four with the Los Angeles Lakers (1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) and one with the Heat (2006).
He has been president of the Heat since 1995 and had two coaching stints with them.
I`ve always said the person who wins the world championship this year is the person who does the best job on the circuit, but that does not seem the way it is at the moment.