COLIN COWHERD: Pat Riley is writing a new book. He’s actually not writing it– a writer is –but the book’s about him, and he talks, and they take notes, and it’s Pat Riley’s book. That’s how it works. He now acknowledges LeBron, quote, “did the right thing when he left Miami.” Riley is quoted– this is a good one –says, “my beautiful plan all came crashing down suddenly. The team, in 10 years, could have won five, six titles. But I get it. I get the whole chronicle of LeBron’s life. While there may have been some carnage, he did the right thing.”
The book will be called “The Soul of Basketball.” Excited to read it. Every time LeBron leaves, anger, dismay, disloyal, guy’s a bum. And every time he leaves, the team he leaves is inept an hour later.
Of course he should have left Miami. They were old. Dwayne Wade was always hurt; so was Bosh. Think about this. In the last game LeBron played in Miami– think about this, let this soak in –four players on the roster, two starters, never played in the league again. Battier, Birdman, Mike Miller, Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem, old, older, oldest, whatever word is older than oldest.
I would argue the Miami Heat roster, when we look back 100 years from now– I won’t be here, let’s just say 20 –at the weakest dynasties and mini-dynasties ever, the Miami Heat will be the weakest roster to ever dominate the league for four to five years. It will be the weakest.
Think about this. They had no center. There’s never been a team that won titles with no center. It was 6′ 8″ Joel Anthony, who didn’t dominate college. They had no real size at all, to be honest. They were near the last– bottom of the NBA in rebounding.
How about point guard? They had the goofy, completely limited Norris Cole or Mario Chambers– Chalmers, excuse me –take your pick. They were atrocious at point guard. They had no center. They weren’t particularly deep. They had a kid coach, and their two stars, Dwayne Wade and LeBron, were never a perfect fit. LeBron, to some degree, is just a bigger Dwayne Wade.
And LeBron left, and Miami didn’t even make, the following year, the playoffs in the East. LeBron carried this roster. If you compare this roster that LeBron was on in Miami to the Golden State dynasty, it’s not even close. The Golden State dynasty is among the top three or four of all time. Magic’s Lakers, Jordan’s Bulls– I mean, Durant, and Steph, and Klay, and Kerr, and Draymond, and coaching, and system, and defense, and–
The Miami Heat had no center. They had no size. They were weak at point. They were old. In the end, they couldn’t play defense. The two stars never worked, perfectly. And they had a kid coach– who I liked –but he was a kid coach.
We’re always mad at LeBron for leaving. But if you’re an actor, and you leave a movie and it bombs, you were right. If you leave a marriage, and he goes totally sideways, you were right. If you leave a company and it erodes significantly, you were right.
Lebron’s always been right leaving Miami. It was never even arguable. When he left Cleveland the first time, he was right. They were inept. He left Miami– and by the way, Miami is well-run. Mickey Harrison is a top-five owner. Pat Riley is a top-level GM– president. This is a well-run organization, and they couldn’t make the playoffs.
Why do we celebrate mobility in America for everybody except LeBron? It’s OK for baseball players to go. You’re OK with NFL free agency– Ndamukong Suh’s on another team, yeah! Marcus Peters, another team, yeah! LeBron leaves, an old, beaten down mess. Boo, that guy’s the worst. MLS celebrates stars coming over to Los Angeles from teams in Europe. We celebrate Silicon Valley youth– young, growing, evolving, ideas. We celebrate mobility everywhere in the world except LeBron.
And now, Pat Riley admitting, like Dan Gilbert, who got on his knees to get LeBron back admitted, LeBron was right both times.