17 People who turned their backs on the Los Angeles Lakers

These former Lakers did not leave on the best terms.

Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard
Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard / Harry How/GettyImages
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1. Pat Riley

Few NBA figures have won more than Riley. He played nine years in the league before 24 as a head coach and 16 and counting as the Heat’s lead executive. During that four decades, Riley has won nine championships and made 16 NBA Finals. He won a ring with the Lakers as a player in 1972 and his coaching career started with the franchise.

Riley became the Lakers head coach in 1981 and led them led to seven NBA Finals and four championships in nine years. He was the architect of Showtime led by Magic Johnson, but the head coach was becoming bigger than his players. Riley was appearing in commercials and promoting his book. It prompted his shocking exit in 1990.

Riley won 533 of his 727 regular season games as Lakers head coach and another 109 playoff contests. He was only 44 years old and had plenty left in the tank. Los Angeles was hoping he would stay for decades, but Riley decided to step down after their second-round playoff exit at the hands of the Suns.

He is still a Lakers legend, but it is hard not to say he turned his back on the franchise. Who knows how things would have changed if Pat Riley continued leading their charge? He is a winner, so fans could certainly expect plenty of those if he remained in LA.

The Los Angeles Lakers had several people turn their backs on the franchise, and it will happen again. Stay tuned to see who is next to make this list.

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