Pat Riley or Phil Jackson: Which Los Angeles Lakers Era Do You Prefer?

Phil Jackson's final season as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers will be filled with intrigue, as he chases an unprecedented 12th NBA title, and an unheard of fourth three-peat as a head coach.

Jackson's task is difficult to begin with, but former Lakers coach Pat Riley has upped the ante by assembling a historic trio of superstars in Miami who represent a direct challenge to Jackson's quest.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are arguably one of the greatest trios of stars the league has seen in 20 years, and the Miami Heat have already been elevated to the status of title favorites in the eyes of many.

If Riley should happen to seize the reins from Heat coach Erik Spolestra, and the Lakers and Heat meet in the NBA Finals, we could be witness to one of the most ironic coaching showdowns in NBA history.

Jackson and Riley are the authors of the two greatest eras in the Lakers' history, and their contrast in coaching styles has helped define the legacy of one of the NBA's most storied franchises.

Riley's 171 career playoff wins are second only to Jackson's 179, and Jackson has won five championships as head coach of the Lakers while Riley won four titles in the '80s, and one more as an assistant under Paul Westphal.

Jackson has won nearly 70 percent of his playoff games, which is the best in NBA history, and Riley's percentage of 61 in the same category ranks 10th on the same list.

Both coaches have reaped the benefits of having some of the greatest players in Lakers' and NBA history during their tenures, but it was their approach and coaching styles that made the teams successful.

Riley's Showtime teams of the '80s had the NBA's best point guard in Magic Johnson, the NBA's top center in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and one of the best small forwards in James Worthy.

Those three superstars were surrounded by talented players such as Byron Scott, Michael C...

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