Following his team’s defeat in the NBA Finals, Pat Riley made some rather controversial comments about the value of the 2020 title.
“I would like to see what it would be like with everybody whole,” Riley said, via The Miami Herald. “We’ll get our chance again. The Lakers have the greatest player in the game today in LeBron [James] and Anthony Davis.
They beat us fair and squarely. But there will be always be that asterisk; if we had Bam and Goran 100 percent — Goran was our leading scorer [entering the Finals] — it might have gone to a seventh game.”
It’s understandable that one would question how the absence of two of Miami’s best players might have impacted the series. Still, after his comments drew fire on social media, he backtracked a bit on the earlier statement.
“The asterisk is next to the Heat’s name, not the Lakers,” Riley clarified. “Their title is legitimate. Our loss has an asterisk [next] to it. The Lakers were the better team. Period.”
Of course, the damage was already done and the interwebs was having its way with Riley and his “asterisk” comment, most notably Orlando Magic swingman Terrence Ross.
The saltshaker emojis are obviously meant to imply that Riley is simply just salty about losing, and that may very well be the case.
But, when you look at the season Miami had, Riley doesn’t have all that much to be salty about. Despite many obstacles and low expectations, the Heat came out and shocked the world this past season, making it all the way to the NBA Finals before losing in six games to a Lakers team many considered superior anyway.
He should be proud of the way his team performed, and nothing suggests he isn’t.
Nevertheless, they’ll have to wait until next season before they get the chance to test their metal again.