Presumably, you caught Heat President Pat Riley on television Friday, strongly hinting that LeBron James would go down in history as a coward if he chose to opt out of Miami (“you have to stay together and find the guts…you don’t find the first door and run out of it”). Considering the events surrounding James’ exit from Cleveland, the Boston Globe’s Tony Massarotti writes, “Dear Riles: You are a hypocritical fraud.”
You were a terrific coach, remain an excellent executive, would be an asset for any team, including the Celtics, who might ever want to hire you. But on this one, especially, you are as phony as a polyester suit. During James’ final five years in Cleveland, the Cavaliers won more games than any team in the NBA Eastern Conference. They went 9-5 in playoff series and made a trip to the finals. The people in Cleveland appealed to James the same way you are appealing now – please stay, LeBron, and please finish what you started – though they did so in a far more whiny, pathetic and shameless manner.
You? You are smarter, at least. You appealed to James’ manhood, which is a clever little trick. It’s just as transparent and superficial as the people to whom the Heat sell tickets. LeBron has never been about fighting the fight, Riles. He has never been about digging in. He is about LeBron, about the business of King James, and the fact that you have now resorted to essentially calling him a chicken confirms just how desperate and scared you are.
Attaboy, Riles. Change the argument to fit your needs.