When They Were President: Pat Riley

After growing tired of being ruler of all things basketball in Miami, Pat decided to make a brief foray into politics. After winning the 2016 election with old comrade Stan Van Gundy as his running mate under the platform of promised results within a reasonable amount of time, Riley takes office with tremendous momentum.

Most experts believe that Riley was able to sway many independent voters with the help of Magic Johnson, who had decided to lend his support to his former coach, who swayed voters with his luminous smile and irrepressible charm. In addition to Magic’s efforts, Riley was able to garner support in Florida from his days as Heat coach, GM, and president. However, Riley lost New York in a land slide, many blaming this loss based on Knicks’ fans pent up fury with Riley for abandoning them for Miami with no real explanation given. However, Riley had so much respect from everyone else in the country that the victory was considered a “landslide”. He had an astounding 65% of the votes cast, easily defeating his opponents. On election day, after the results were in, Riley gave a rousing speech at his victory party where he promised that he would come back and do it again next time (winning, that is).

Seizing his Election Day momentum, Riley led the country to many early victories, enabling some to speculate whether he could be in the greatest ever conversation. However, after his initial victories, momentum and support shrank and Riley grew tired of the position near the end of his second year in office.

By that time, the country had lost much of its former glory, looked almost down upon by the rest of the world and Riley had turned from hero to washed up in a short time. Deciding it was best for both he and the country if he should step down, Riley made Van Gundy acting President. This move was unprecedented, but nobody really argued with his logic since nobody really liked how the country had taken a downturn.

To everyone’s surprise, within a year the country made a swift turnaround, once again nearing the top of the rankings in the world. Truly on the verge of sustained greatness, America seemed to have turned it around and was ready to take the next step. Seizing this golden opportunity, Riley emerged from the shadows to grab the reigns of the country yet again.

A despondent Van Gundy refused to voice his opposition to the move despite the universal feeling that he was royally screwed, instead waiting out the first term before moving on when a better opportunity unveiled itself when he became the governor of Florida. He would go on to have a much more illustrious career as governor and nobody really blamed Van Gundy who was essentially humiliated by President Riley. However, Van Gundy would become infamous for his shouting matches with his staff where his voice cracked to the point that nobody could keep a straight face, only enraging Van Gundy further.

Riley would again regain his former glory, taking much of the credit for the actions of his vice president, some of which he deserves, others not so much. His approval rating spiked to an all time high of 87 and Riley was enjoying every moment of his presidency. Riding this approval rating, Riley had secured a second term if he wanted it.

And he wanted it, as all great leaders do. He was all set to run once again, this time without Van Gundy at his side, until late in his term when nearly all of his cabinet members left the administration with no explanation given. Seeing that his approval ratings will never be higher, Riley decided he would not seek reelection. Some called the move “Roosevelt-ian”; others called it stupid.

Seeking answers the party wanted to know who to turn to next. Riley appointed Erik Spoelstra his successor, which was greeted with a mixture of confusion and upheaval in the party in which many contributors would switch political identities in the next election season.

But many ask what is Riley’s presidential legacy? Perhaps it will be that every room in the white house was fitted with a mirror, suntan lotion, a tanning bed, and corresponding hair grease. Maybe it would his trademark comeback to the question “how can you be so confident?” His response was simple: he would hold up his hand with all the championship rings and remark “cause of these babies.” However, his lasting legacy will be that he was a tremendous leader who was at heart an opportunist with a good sense of when things were turning bad and knew when to jump ship. And then subsequently jump back on ship and take the glory of steering into the treasure.


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