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#pounditWednesday, January 19, 2022

Pat Riley has ultimate praise for LeBron James years after beef

Pat Riley Heat

Whatever vendetta Pat Riley once had against his former franchise superstar now appears to be firmly in the past.

In an interview this weekend with team broadcaster Eric Reid, the Miami Heat president reflected on how the “Big Three” era came to be in 2010 and delivered some lofty praise for LeBron James in the process.

“After July the 1st, I just laid it out on the table,” said Riley. “LeBron and Chris [Bosh], two of the greatest players in our game. And LeBron, maybe the greatest player of all-time, with Dwyane [Wade].

“All you gotta do is put it on the table after July the 1st and say, ‘Why keep banging your head against the wall like you have been in Cleveland?'” Riley added. “Chris in Toronto having great seasons but never really getting far in the playoffs. I said, ‘Here’s an opportunity to have three of the greatest players in the game in their prime at a time they can make this kind of decision.'”

Riley’s praise for James here is quite noteworthy. While their relationship was sunshine and rainbows during their four years together in Miami that yielded back-to-back NBA championships, it quickly soured once James left to return to Cleveland in 2014. Riley once stated that James’ departure was “personal” and revealed that he almost wrote a Dan Gilbert-style letter trashing The King when it first happened.

The 75-year-old has since taken on a more conciliatory tone about James’ exit however, and this weekend’s comments may be his latest peace offering. Riley also coached Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the LA Lakers as well as coached against Michael Jordan in the Eastern Conference for many years, adding another interesting layer to his “greatest of all-time” remarks.

H/T Heat Nation

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