Two weeks after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat to secure their first title in a decade, losing Heat president Pat Riley said the title will always “have an asterisk” next to it.
Despite paying LeBron James the highest compliment as the league’s “greatest player,” Riley said that the injuries to two key players made it possible for the Lakers to vanquish his Heat in six games.
“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,” Riley said, referring to key players Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo.
“I would like to see what it would be like with everybody whole. We’ll get our chance again. The Lakers have the greatest player in the game today in LeBron [James] and Anthony Davis,” Riley added according to the Miami Herald.
Riley is still embittered by the losses of Adebayo and Dragic to injury in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Adebayo’s neck injury kept him sidelined until Game 4. Dragic suffered a torn plantar fascia that kept him out until Game 6.
As you’d expect Riley’s statement drew the ire of Laker Nation. Many believe Riley is still resentful toward King James for bolting from the Heat and returning to the Cleveland Cavs in 2014. This despite the fact that James led the Heat to four championship appearances and two title wins in four years from 2010-2014.
The narrative before the championship series was this was Riley’s opportunity to exact revenge on King James for leaving the Heat in the middle of a title run.
Riley came up two games short of his mission.
Flip the page to view Riley’s entire press conference.