Skip to main content

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.”

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

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. 

Desmond Bane & Shannon Sharpe

"You know this game over" - Shannon Sharpe reveals how an overconfident Desmond Bane wasn't able to back up his trash talk against the Los Angeles Lakers

Shannon Sharpe shares how overconfident Desmond Bane failed to deliver his hype in the game against Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James

"Been pathetic from three" - Skip Bayless labels LeBron James' 46-point outburst against Los Angeles Clippers as his 'best performance of the season'

Skip Bayless complements LeBron's 46-point outburst against Los Angeles Clippers by indicating just how bad he has been from the 3-Point Line

Dejounte Murray responds to trade rumors swirling around him in the buildup to the 2022 NBA Draft

Why Dejounte Murray's meaningless dunk in 2018 made several fans jump for joy as if they won the championship

Dejounte Murray threw down a meaningless windmill dunk in their first-round series against the Golden State Warriors in 2018.

Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier (3)

The dumb antic that got Terry Rozier kicked out of Adidas in 2017

Terry Rozier casually slipped into his Nike sneakers during a pre-game shootaround before they faced the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals.

Lower Merion High School senior Kobe Bryant

How Kobe Bryant's Lower Merion jersey ended up with a Chinese superfan who returned it

In October 2018, Liu Zhe was searching online for some Kobe Bryant merchandise. He came across his idol's Lower Merion jersey, not knowing it was the one stolen a few months ago.

December 25, 2003; Houston Rockets guard Cuttino Mobley shoots a free throw against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center

"Michael Jordan was like that" - When the Houston Rockets thought they found their own MJ

Even though Mobley turned out to be far from the player Jordan was, he is still grateful to have learned a lot of things from “His Airness."

January 24, 2023; Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James steals the ball from Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George during the game at Arena

“The league is his” - Paul George gushes over LeBron James as the Los Angeles Lakers star approaches the NBA’s scoring record

PG has always looked up to "King James" despite the two having tough battles over the years.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (let); Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura (right)

"Very good for the Lakers” - Draymond Green hails Los Angeles Lakers for acquiring Rui Hachimura amid playoff quest

Draymond Green gets vocal on how Rui Hachimura could be a great asset for the LA Lakers after landing at his dream destination.