There’s the now-famous story of Miami Heat president Pat Riley throwing his championship rings on a table when he met with then-free agent LeBron James in 2010. Many speculated that James was impressed by Riley’s winning pedigree and that played a part in his decision to head to the Heat that summer.
While that may be true, it turns out the two basketball titans never really bonded throughout their four years working together, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst:.
From Grantland’s Bill Simmons’ B.S. Report: (via the Washington Post):
Windhorst: “I don’t think LeBron was ever really close to Riley and I don’t think that’s a departure from the way he likes to treat management. …
I think Riley tried to do his bonding maneuvers over the years and I don’t think that they worked. At the end, I wonder how much Riley understood LeBron, because when he came out and made that fiery speech at the end of the season, that is not somebody who has a good vibe who would think LeBron would react well to that.”
He just announced during that speech that LeBron was expecting a daughter and LeBron had gone to lengths to keep that quiet. He did not want that out there and several times he was asked about that in the media and he said ‘I’m not talking about that,’ and anybody that spent time around LeBron knew he kept that quiet … That he would say that, is an indication that he did not know Lebron and know that he was keeping that a secret
Riley also recently revealed to the media that he texted and emailed LeBron throughout this year’s free agency period and James did not respond.
From all accounts it seems like Riley and LeBron’s relationship was completely overblown. It’s fair to wonder if that lack of a bond cost the Heat in any way during the LeBron James Sweepstakes this summer.