Claim: Former Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley obtained a trademark for the term “three-peat.”
Origins: From the “Good ideas that didn’t work out as expected” department:
In 1988 the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, led by head coach Pat Riley, had won back-to-back NBA
championships and were poised to become the first team to clinch three straight NBA titles since the Boston Celtics reeled off an astounding string of eight consecutive championship victories from 1959 to 1966. Byron Scott, who at the time was a member of Riley’s Lakers team (and is now the head coach of the New Jersey Nets), came up with the catchy term “three-peat” to describe the feat the Lakers were hoping to accomplish.
When a friend suggested at dinner one evening that Riley trademark the term, he acted on the advice and submitted a trademark application for “three-peat” on
hats — anyone who wished to manufacture and sell those items of clothing had to obtain a license from
The anticipated surge in sales of “three-peat” items failed to materialize as anticipated when the Lakers were swept in the 1989 NBA finals by the Detroit Pistons. The profits were merely delayed for a few years, however, as the Chicago Bulls (with the phenomenal Michael Jordan) pulled off a “three-peat” by taking three straight NBA crowns from 1991 to 1993.
Although Riley left the Los Angeles Lakers after the
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Last updated: 18 July 2007
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