Skip to main content

Shaq tells a wild Pat Riley story: “We at the airport, he was checking people's bags and we had to bring one suit.


Following a win over the Lakers in a regular-season game in February 2010, Doc Rivers took $100 from every player, coach, and team manager. He took the $2600 collected, put it in an envelope, and hid it underneath a ceiling tile in the visitors’ locker room. He had a simple message for the team: “We’re coming back to get our money.”

The thing is, the only scenario where that would happen was a Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals. The Celtics were 3rd in the East, not considered the favorites in the East. They beat the odds, came back in June, and collected their money. Being an NBA coach is as much about connecting with your players and motivating them as it is about strategy and player development. One of the best coaches ever to do that was Pat Riley.

In 2006, the Heat, led by Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal, got to the Finals to face the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas shocked everyone by taking a 2-0 lead after the first two games in Miami. Everyone outside Miami remembers the 27 free throws Dwayne Wade got in games 3 and 4, Mark Cuban losing it, and getting fined a quarter of a million dollars. Everyone from Miami remembers Heat winning both games in Dallas and reclaiming home court. They won Game 5, took a 3-2 lead, and then Pat Riley made his move.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

“We go up 3-2 and then Pat Riley comes in pissed off. 'We ain't practicing today, we're going there tomorrow and you better bring one suit. When you get to the airport tomorrow I'm checkin'. If you ain't got one suit, your ass ain't coming on the plane.' So we at the airport, he was checking people's bags and we had to bring one suit.”

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq played for great coaches in his career. Out of all of them, Shaq said Pat Riley (and Dale Brown) were the greatest motivators he ever played for. As he explained it, conversations were the thing that got the best out of him—getting him into the right mindset.

“When they tell stories before a game, you just want to go out and kill people.”

Shaquille O'Neal

That’s why specific organizations and coaches keep showing up in Finals and winning championships. They start building a relationship in October so that you would trust them in June. (The 97 free throws Dwayne Wade shot in six games helped as well.)

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler during media day

Is Jimmy Butler the ultimate troll or a business guru?

With Jimmy Butler moving towards the latter half of his career, it seems that he wants to start building his off-court brand.

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan on Oprah Show

“He never understand what it takes to be a winner” — When Michael Jordan humiliated Charles Barkley on Oprah

It’s hard to tell if Jordan took Barkley’s joke personally, but what he said next changed the vibe and the entire atmosphere in a few seconds.

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan

"I don't think I could truly be happy until I retire" - DeMar DeRozan pulls the curtain back on daily rigors of NBA life

There's one thing Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is looking forward to the most when he hangs up his sneakers for good.

Venus Williams and Shaquille O'Neal

When Shaquille O'Neal lied about having affairs with Venus Williams, Cindy Crawford, and Aaliyah

Venus Williams issued a strong statement upon hearing Shaquille O'Neal's claims.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan is defended by Detroit Pistons center James Edwards

“The Bulls complained all the time” — Kevin McHale reveals why the Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons hated the Chicago Bulls

Unlike Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Kevin McHale believes the physicality the Bad Boy Pistons played with was valid and it made his Celtics even better.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook still does the same offseason workout he and Kevin Durant used to do in OKC — “It definitely helps”

Russell Westbrook revealed that he has been running on sand dunes for about eight years now every offseason and it has been helping him a lot.

New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman

How Chris Kaman got Player Exclusive "Air Sasqhatuces" from Nike in 2012

After he became an All-Star in 2010, Chris Kaman triggered a clause in his Nike deal that he’d get Player Exclusives