Skip to main content

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.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James and team president Pat Riley

LeBron James and Pat Riley

Until the moment LeBron James left the Miami Heat, probably the angriest Pat Riley has ever been is when he released an official statement - official! - saying that ”Danny Ainge needs to ”shut the f**k up and manage his own team,” adding that Ainge was always a whiner. But then LeBron decided to leave, and Ainge got bumped down the list.

Disrespect

It's not just that Riley didn't see it coming. The way LeBron handled the breakup made it so much worse. The fact James didn't sign an extension with the Heat was a red flag. But Riley being Riley, he was confident the Heat had the best offer. LeBron accepted a meeting when free agency opened, and Riley flew to Las Vegas to seal the deal. 

There, it became apparent LeBron agreed to meet as a courtesy. The only thing is, it wasn't courteous at all. According to Stephen A. Smith, LeBron was playing video games while Riley was making his pitch. This wasn't a serious meeting. Alonzo Mourning, who was present, had to step in and tell LeBron to check himself. ”Yo, you are not going to disrespect this man like that.'”

The moment the meeting ended, Riley knew he was being played. The disrespect was through the roof. Dan Le Batard knows a thing or two about Miami and Pat Riley. Here's how he described Riley's reaction

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

He was enraged for months, crazed, rabid. Embarrassed that The King had summoned him to Las Vegas for a sham recruitment pitch. Betrayed. Why would LeBron leave the cult and think he could just take the culture?” 

Klutch Mafia

When Pat Riley is team president, there's no room for LeGM. For sure, LeBron could always get a meeting, and his voice and opinion were taken into consideration. But Riley and his team were making the decisions off the court; LeBron's domain was on the court. You can't build Klutch Sports that way. 

There were signs player empowerment was around the corner. LeBron trying to get Spoelstra fired so Riley would return to the head coaching position. The mini-coup attempt in Cleveland, when LeBron wanted to have people over for dinner after playing the Cavs, challenging Spoelstra's orders the team was to fly to the next location that day. But the first sign this wasn't just a star player asking for perks or a coaching change happened before all that. It happened on LeBron's first day as a member of the Heat. 

LeBron and his agency tried to take over the Heat in 2010 the way they took over the Cavs upon return to Cleveland and have taken over the Lakers now. They asked for hundreds of free season tickets upon arrival in Miami, but Riley wouldn’t allow the encroachments on his power even as he found himself at the heart of the same argument Jordan once had with the Bulls.Le Batard reveals

Not a few courtside seats when family and friends visit Miami. Hundreds of free season tickets! LeBron came to Miami to learn how to lead a championship team - he was there to learn the Pat Riley/Heat Way. But he still wanted to do it on his terms. Miami wasn't the destination; it was just a stop on the way to building LeBron's empire. 

The man who established "The Disease of Me" years ago didn't see it happening before his eyes. Riley was hooked on the idea LeBron would spend the majority of his career in Miami, creating the next NBA dynasty. He didn't realize the only dynasty LeBron James was interested in building was the James dynasty. 

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