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Pat Riley Admits He Was “Very Angry” When LeBron James Left the Heat

Submitted by on April 25, 2017 – 3:38 pmNo Comment

When LeBron James decided to leave the Miami Heat back in the summer of 2014 to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, there were a lot of people who were extremely happy about it. Many NBA fans felt like LeBron belonged back in Cleveland, where he started his NBA career in 2003 before bolting for Miami in 2010. But there was one person who was most definitely not thrilled to hear about LeBron leaving the 305 to head back to the place he started: Heat team president Pat Riley, who helped bring LeBron and Chris Bosh to Miami to team up with Dwyane Wade and win two NBA titles.

While Riley has long been upset about the way LeBron left town, he’s more or less kept quiet about it and refused to talk at length about the way everything went down. But that all changed recently when he agreed to speak with ESPN The Magazine writer Wright Thompson about how LeBron handles his departure from Miami. According to Riley, he got a phone call from LeBron who informed him of his decision before leaving for Cleveland. But even though LeBron took the time to call him directly, he admitted he didn’t respond positively to the news that was delivered to him. It sounds like he was extremely upset about LeBron leaving and took it more personally than he probably should have.

“I was silent,” Riley told Thompson. “I didn’t say anything. My mind began to just go. And it was over. I was very angry when LeBron left. It was personal for me. It just was. I had a very good friend who talked me off the ledge and kept me from going out there and saying something like Dan Gilbert. I’m glad I didn’t do it.”

It’s not exactly a surprise to hear Riley admit to being angry with LeBron. He did talk about this once before with Bleacher Report in early 2015. But it seems as though Riley might still be angry about it, which shows just how competitive he is and how much he hated LeBron’s decision. Whether or not that anger is justified depends on where you sit when it comes to LeBron leaving Miami for Cleveland. But to us, LeBron gave Riley four great seasons before skipping town. So should he really be complaining about the way things ended?

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