Pat Riley had the honor to have LeBron James as part of his team, the Miami Heat. Riley, one of the best coaches in NBA history, and now one of the best executives in the league, only has good words to say about James, despite the way the King left South Beach and returned to Cleveland six years ago.
For Riley, Bron is 'maybe the greatest player of all time', as he said while recalling how he assembled the famous Miami Big 3 with James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. In an interview with Heat play-by-play man Eric Reid, Riley described James as the GOAT, during times when that debate is hotter than ever.
Explaining how he put together the Big 3, Riley said:
We saw that their contracts would end at the same time. Talking at that time with Randy Pfund and also talking with Andy, we just wanted to make sure that we could be a player in 2010 even though it was still three or four years away, to be able to have the cap space to be able to talk to those guys. We planned at that time that 2010 was going to be an incredible free-agent class. I just wanted to be able to get to have dinner with them or be at a table with them. …
“After July the first, I just laid it out on the table. LeBron and Chris [Bosh], two of the greatest players in our game. And LeBron, maybe the greatest player of all time, with Dwyane [Wade]. All you had to do is put it on the table, after July the first, to say, ‘Why keep banging your head against the wall like you have in Cleveland? Chris, in Toronto?’ Having great seasons but never really getting very far in the playoffs. I said here’s an opportunity to have three of the greatest players in the game in their prime at a time when they can make this kind of decision.”
Even though LeBron left the Heat in not a good way, almost ignoring the team's attempts to retain him, Riley doesn't hold grudges against Bron, even calling him the best player of all time.
Now LeBron is part of the Lakers, trying to take the Purple and Gold to the promised land while the Heat is once again in a good position to compete in the East. In a matter of three or four years, that team can become a real threat in the NBA.