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Pat Riley describes LeBron James as a mix of MJ, Kobe, Magic, Jerry West, and Bill Russell

LeBron James & Pat Riley

In an interview with the NBA for a ’75 stories’ dedicated to the Lakers star, Pat called James a mix of great players.

Time heals all wounds. This was evident after Pat Riley gave LeBron James one of the highest praises an NBA great could give to another. 

LeBron is a mix of MJ, Kobe, Magic, Jerry West and Bill Russell

Riley and James have more shared history than most people think. Pat engineered Miami Heat’s Big 3 in 2011 and was responsible for bringing in James to South Beach. They achieved great things together, but their relationship soured when the Heat’s run was coming to an end. However, it didn’t seem like the two had a falling out with the way Riley recognized how great of a player The King is. 

In an interview with the NBA for a ’75 stories’ dedicated to the Lakers star, Pat called James a mix of historic NBA players. 

“LeBron is in a class of his own. He is absolutely unique. He is Michael, he is Magic, he is Kobe, he’s Jerry West, he’s Bill Russell. You take all of these great, great players, and put them in a blender and mix them up, LeBron’s got something from all of them in him.”

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No matter how great the 4-time champion is, calling him a mix of MJ, Kobe, Russell, Magic, and West is a bit of a stretch. But in a way, Riley, who has seen it all in his career as a player, assistant coach, head coach, team executive working for teams like Knicks, Heat, and Lakers, has his reasons for his claim. LeBron IQ, longevity, point guard skills, and consecutive final appearances are indeed reminiscent of Magic, Bill Russell, and Jerry West. However, according to his critics, one important trait of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, a ruthless mentality, is something James still lacks.

Riley and James’ past 

When James left Miami to return to Cleveland, it stung Riley. Every breakup was hurtful, more so if you dreamed and achieved things together. LeBron claimed that when he left, he received nasty things from the front office, which Pat denied coming from him. 

"When I decided to leave Miami — I'm not going to name any names, I can't do that — but there were some people that I trusted and built relationships with in those four years [who] told me I was making the biggest mistake of my career. And that s--- hurt me. And I know it was an emotional time that they told me that because I was leaving. They just told me it was the biggest mistake I was making in my career. And that right there was my motivation."

With Riley’s recent comments, it’s good to know the two seemed to have patched things up. Or is he trying to lure James back to Miami Heat for one last hurrah before retiring? It’s interesting to see the developments in the coming months, especially with the Lakers struggling this season. 

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