Magic Johnson’s Faith In Miami Heat Comes From Being Ultimate Pat Riley Guy

By Richard Nurse
Magic Johnson
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At times, the concept of loyalty can be a tricky one to some when it comes to real life and the NBA. But in the case of Miami Heat president Pat Riley, the devotion is almost cult-like.

People spend their entire careers taking pay cuts for him, going corporate for him, and singing his praises. And as a result, players like Bob McAdoo, Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and Keith Askins get pegged as lifers who secured their post-basketball playing futures through staying in his good graces; this explains why this summer was taken as such a big blow to his “Godfather” mystique.

Great athletes and coaches do not move on from Riley; he moves on from them in a classic “it’s not me, it’s you” type of way. Just ask Shaquille ONeal and Stan Van Gundy. The breakup becomes part of the process — even if it’s him leaving you as he did to EarvinMagicJohnson in the summer of 1990.

Riles and Johnson crafted the Los Angeles Lakers’ “Showtime” movement and captured four titles together, then he bolted for New York. Yet, Johnson still shows appreciation to his former coach. How else would you explain this series of tweets that the legend sent out on Monday?

For a Heat fan, Johnson’s vote of confidence must feel like opening up the most precious present on the dawn of Christmas morning. However, the team’s lack of pieces makes it hard for the average onlooker to have that much trust in a team that just lost the best player in the game.

But that’s the Riley juice.

He has the ability to turn the rare free agency departure into something motivational that each one of his people can stand behind — regardless of if they dwell in his past or his present. Plain and simple, a true “Riley Guy” embodies faith in their leader no matter the circumstance, and that’s not something that could be said for the King or Superman.

Richard Nurse is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr or add him to your network on Google.

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