NBA Miami Heat

Pat Riley Stands Up For LeBron James

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Just when the new era of the NBA seemed to be weak, gutless and uninspiring, hardwood old schoolers stepped in to pick up the slack.

On Friday, Miami Heat president Pat Riley responded to criticism of LeBron James made by Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. One day earlier, Ainge told Boston radio station WEEI that James was out of line to challenge officials on calls made in the Heat’s match up with the Chicago Bulls.

Against the Bulls, James was noticeably attacked by Bulls players, most notably Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson. In no way were the fouls by Hinrich and Gibson malicious, but James certainly had a claim for two flagrant fouls.

“I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating,” Ainge told WEEI. “I think the referees got the calls right. I don’t think it was a hard foul. I think the one involving LeBron against Carlos Boozers, that was flagrant.”

Riley justly responded to Ainge’s comments in a statement made through a Heat spokesman.

“Danny Ainge needs to shut the f— up and manage his own team. He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him,” Riley said.

Even NBA grandfathers have resorted to trash talking and fighting through radio stations and interviews. Riley was on point to defend James, and Ainge’s ignorance continues to shine through.

“I don’t want to mess up his Armani suits and all that hair goop. It would be way too expensive for me,” said Ainge.


John Engel is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports, and also works for ESPNLA 710 AM radio in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.