Buy the Book - Silver Tongue - Secrets of Mr. Santa Barbara


Pat Riley

Champion coach vs. Awesome Auctioneer – No exact date on this photo, but judging from Larry's hair it's probably the late 1980s. Larry holds a basketball signed by the then world-champion Los Angeles Lakers. (You can just make out Magic Johnson's signature on the ball.)

Larry is auctioning off the ball to benefit Westmont College. Former Lakers coach Pat Riley beams at the Silver Tongue banter. "I was really impressed with Pat and his family," says Larry. "Chris, his wife, is as pretty as he is handsome. They adopted two kids a year apart. I had to get a cottage for them and the two babies at the Biltmore. They were one of the most popular couples in the world at the time because of his success. And for free, he took the time to stop and speak for Westmont. The next day, a corporation paid him $10,000 for an hour speech. He did three or four benefits for Westmont or Santa Barbara City College. One of them was at (the architect) Barry Berkus' house. A bunch of us had paid to go through a "basketball clinic" with the master coach. He said he was going to run through a typical Lakers practice. He then threw out the balls and walked away. When we stopped laughing, he set up some plays. He told me I would take the part of Kurt Rambis. I allowed as I would rather be James Worthy (a more glamorous and talented player). "So would Rambis," said the coach.