Skip to main content

Pat Riley's tremendous anger “Cleveland got 'The Decision.' We got the letter from SI”


I had two or three days of tremendous anger. I was absolutely livid, which I expressed to myself and my closest friends.” That’s how Pat Riley described himself after LeBron published an article in SI, letting everyone know he was “coming home.” Riley mentioned a friend talked him down from writing his own Comic Sans letter. That’s how bad it got. 

You may think of Pat Riley as the ultimate professional. He is The Godfather, after all. The iconic image of Pacino sitting in a chair, with his legs crossed, making big decisions with a calm voice resonates here. From the custom-made suits to the slick hair. But the same as Pacino in the movie, the NBA’s Godfather could lose it at times. Here’s his press release about Danny Ainge from 2013. 

“Danny Ainge needs to shut the f— up and manage his own team. He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him.”

Pat Riley's press release, 2013

So Riley writing his own Comic Sans letter isn’t as farfetched as you may think. One thing for sure, it wouldn’t have been in comic sans. After LeBron left, Riley started to connect the dots - the signs were there. Riley began to hear rumors of moving vans transporting everything out of Miami. Then the Pau Gasol situation happened.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

The key acquisition to reinvigorate the Big Three was Pau Gasol. Riley had a meeting with the Spanish center and had asked LeBron to call him too. In the end, Gasol was willing to take less money to come and win rings with James. After the call, Gasol’s agent at the time, Arn Tellem, called Riley to let him know he has a problem. LeBron had told Gasol he would love to play with him, “wherever I may be.”

“I know I have a problem.”

Pat Riley, "The Soul of Basketball" by Ian Thomsen

Still, there was hope. Riley got on a plane to go to Las Vegas and meet with LeBron. The first bad sign was that Maverick Carter wasn’t there. The second one was the fact James was watching the World Cup Final on TV during the meeting. Still, LeBron’s decision enraged Riley, and the reason was the same as it was in Cleveland. There was no warning - they found out with the rest of us. 

After things settled down, Riley said he understood LeBron’s decision to go home and win a title for Cleveland. There was no communication between the two until LeBron won in 2016. Riley sent him a text he never got a response to. But after the game, LeBron said someone in the Heat organization told him he was making the biggest mistake of his career. “And that s**t hurt me.” Riley claims it wasn’t him, but he couldn’t state someone else from the organization didn’t say that to him. 

“I’m a good Irishman. I don’t hold a grudge. Only the drunks do - and the Celtics. But not me.”

Pat Riley, "The Soul of Basketball" by Ian Thomsen

We know better. The Last Dance demonstrated that guys like this fabricate problems if there are none. That’s not necessary here. As long as LeBron's in the NBA, Pat Riley's team will be prepared to give him their 100%.

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings goes off on the state of the NBA - “It’s only a couple of guys in the NBA that love the game”

Jennings' opinions are certainly divisive, but it's clear that without change the NBA would get stale, and that's why it's necessary to continue exploring ways to evolve the game

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan’s secret tattoo and the meaning behind it revealed

It's barely visible and not something MJ liked to talk about.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

Zach Snyder on directing Michael Jordan in "Playground" — “He’s a natural.”

One went on to make Space Jam, the other 300, Justice League, Army of the Dead, Man of Steel, Watchmen, and Dawn of the Dead. Two great movie careers, starting in 1990.

Miami Heat forward LeBron James and team president Pat Riley

The moment Pat Riley should've known LeBron James would one day leave Miami

Upon his arrival to Miami, LeBron made a request that should've let Riley know a new era was coming.

Dennis Rodman

How Dennis Rodman's gay bar double-date led to the Chicago Bulls winning the 1996 NBA Championship

Remember Jack Haley? It turns out he was crucial for the Bulls winning in 1996 because he was “the only person who speaks fluent Rodman,” and knew how to convince Dennis not to quit the team before Game 6 of the Finals.

Detroit Pistons center Bill Laimbeer and guard Isiah Thomas

“I don't need to take that s**t!” — when Isiah Thomas broke his hand after punching Bill Laimbeer

Isiah Thomas punched Bill Laimbeer so hard he broke his hand during one of Detroit Pistons' practices.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

“I don’t know if I could’ve survived in this Twitter (era)” — Michael Jordan on social media and cancel culture

There's no hand-checking and hard fouls in 2022. But there's Twitter, political correctness and almost no privacy whatsoever.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Remember when KCP played with an ankle monitor?

In terms of serving time, continuing to play games while in prison is not that bad.