Sports Pat Riley details drama behind LeBron James’ Miami exit in new book

17:50  10 april  2018
17:50  10 april  2018 Source:   Toronto Star

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MIAMI—His franchise forever changed by both the arrival and departure of LeBron James, Miami Heat president Pat Riley, in an upcoming book by longtime NBA journalist Ian Thomsen, said that the championship-forward “did the right thing” when he left the Heat in July 2014, after four-consecutive trips to the NBA final to return to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the soon-to-be-released The Soul of Basketball: The Epic Showdown between LeBron, Kobe, Doc and Dirk that Saved the NBA, Riley said of James’ departure, “I just finally came to accept the realization that he and his family said, ‘You’ll never, ever be accepted back in your hometown if you don’t go back to try to win a title. Otherwise someday you’ll go back there and have the scarlet letter on your back. You’ll be the greatest player in the history of mankind, but back there, nobody’s really going to accept you.’ ”

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Miami Heat president Pat Riley is notoriously selective in terms of media availability and has said very little regarding the very public departure of LeBron James from Miami in 2014 as a free agent. But in author Ian Thomsen’s new book , “The Soul of Basketball: The Epic Showdown between LeBron

Riley’s comments in the book were reported Monday by ESPN.

Riley also revealed in the book that James had asked him about the possibility of Riley returning to coaching both before joining the Heat in the 2010 offseason, and then after the Heat’s Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals, before winning championships in 2012 and 2013.

“They wanted to know what was going to happen with Erik,” Riley said of James’ staff asking about coach Erik Spoelstra, who guided the Heat both before, through and since the team’s four-year Big Three era. “They wondered if I was going to be coaching. I said, ‘Look, Erik is the head coach, that’s it. I support him. I’m not interested in coaching.’”

When asked a similar question after the 2011 final, Riley, according to the ESPN report on the book, said, “I remember LeBron looking at me, and he said, ‘Don’t you ever get the itch?’ I said, ‘The itch for what?’ He said, ‘The itch to coach again?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t have the itch.’ He didn’t ask any more questions, and I didn’t offer any more answers. But I know what it meant, and I always go back and wonder about what he was thinking at that time. He walked out scratching his leg like it was itching.”

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Miami Dolphins. Minnesota Vikings. New England Patriots. New Orleans Saints. New York Giants. LeBron James leaving the Heat came as a surprise to many. He had made four finals in a row, won But his comments regarding James ' exit are a true glimpse of what's going on behind the cool facade

“I believe that Pat Riley would have retired at the end of this season that just passed had it not been for LeBron James deciding to leave Miami . Beckham In Town Working On New Team & Celebrating High School Soccer ChampionshipsSoccer star David Beckham is back in Miami to work on his new

Riley said that the team’s basketball-operations department was not part of the smoke-filled, over-the-top celebration of James’ 2010 arrival.

a person wearing a costume© Provided by Toronto Star

“It threw gasoline on the fire,” Riley is quoted from the book. “It did ring of some hubris on our part that was not planned.”

Riley said it took a considerable period to get over James’ departure.

“I had two to three days of tremendous anger. I was absolutely livid, which I expressed to myself and my closest friends,” Riley said in the book according to the ESPN report. “My beautiful plan all of a sudden came crashing down. That team in 10 years could have won five or six championships. But I get it. I get the whole chronicle of (LeBron’s) life.”

The Soul of Basketball is scheduled for April 17 release.

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