Before LeBron James returned back to Cleveland and won one for the land, you may remember his four-season stint with the Miami Heat. During James’ tenure, he appeared in four straight NBA championships and won two championships alongside NBA All-Star’s Chris Bosh and Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade.
Subsequently, after the 2013-14 season ended with the San Antonio Spurs defeating the Miami Heat in the championship, James had another huge decision to make in free agency. It’s a decision that received little to no backlash but instead was celebrated.
However, Miami Heat President Pat Riley was subject to learning he’d be losing the best player in the NBA and had the only reaction a person in his position could have.
Following from Harvey Araton of The Vertical.
“Since I came here, we’ve had the same owner, same president, two coaches, same support staff. We’ve got a bunch of guys working for us who played for us. Players come and go, great players. When LeBron left, that was the most shocking thing to me – not to say he was right or wrong – and the most shocking thing to the franchise. But our culture is the same. You have your up years and your down years, but what can’t change is the way you do things.”
It’s clear that Riley was well aware of the ramifications of LeBron’s departure and his reaction of being shocked was a fitting one. After recently losing a Heat great in Dwyane Wade in free agency, Riley’s comments about LeBron speaks volumes on just how important he was to that franchise.
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