Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pat Riley: "Don't be judgemental. Unless you're me."

Ever since Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James made The Group Decision to take their talents to South Beach -- which totally wasn't collusion in any way -- almost everybody outside of South Beach has been taking pot shots at the three of them and the Miami Heat organization.

Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy suggested that Bosh was acting like Wade's bitch ("Well, he's been following him around for two weeks like his lapdog.") while Magic GM Otis Smith openly questioned the existence of LeBron's testicles ("I thought he was, I guess, more of a competitor.")

The Super Friends even got busted on by NBA legends like Charles Barkley ("I thought that his little one-hour special was a punk move. I thought them dancing around on the stage was a punk move, and I thought he should've stayed in Cleveland. Him joining Dwyane Wade's team was very disappointing to me."), Magic Johnson ("We didn't think about [joining forces] cause that's not what we were about. From college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird."), Larry Bird ("I remember back in my days, I'd rather play against Earvin Johnson than play with him.") and Michael Jordan ("There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry [Bird], called up Magic [Johnson] and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team.'").

Of course, Barkley twice jumped ship (from Philly to Phoenix to Houston) for better championship opportunities, while Magic (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott, etc.), Bird (Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson, etc.) and Jordan (Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, coach Phil Jackson, etc.) had their fair share of legendary sidekicks.

Anyway, Pat Riley is feeling a little pissy about all the judgement:

"I take a little umbrage to some of the things that came from people in our game who, all of a sudden, have become the moral conscious or moral authority on the decision of every team or some individual might make," Riley said Friday during a conference call with South Florida writers. "I know one thing: Our team will be ready. And I think that's the way we can answer all the critics."

"Charles Barkley, to me, went way, way, way over the top taking these personal attacks. Calling these guys a bunch of punks is a personal attack," Riley said. "For him to say that is wrong."

"I thought that (what Smith said) was an absolutely stupid remark. He never made any kind of comment like that when he signed Rashard Lewis and brought him from Seattle (in 2007) with a $128 million contract," Riley said.
Mind you, during the 1984 NBA Finals, Riley referred to McHale and the Celtics as "thugs." He also gave Jackson the rasberries during the Knicks-Bulls rivalry. Ditto for Jeff Van Gundy during the Heat-Knicks rivalry. And we all know about how he stabbed Stan Van Gundy in the back in taking over Miami's coaching job a few years back. So I'm not sure why he's casting stones now. Neither does Van Gundy:

"I thought it was pretty typical. I was kind of amused by it, especially reading down through the interview," Van Gundy said. "He goes into Charles Barkley, me and Otis and then says he doesn't worry about what people say. Wait, you called the press conference, you went off and everybody and you don't care what people say? Clearly, he cares a great deal about what people say. I was laughing when I saw that."

"Pat's thing calling Otis' remarks stupid, I don't think they were any different than what several ex-players who played when Otis did had to say. They looked at the game differently back then and backed up what we said," Van Gundy said. "The position LeBron and Bosh took isn’t necessarily wrong, but it's different from what (Michael) Jordan, Magic (Johnson) and Larry Bird would have done. Otis was a part of that generation -- he wasn't at that level -- but that's the way those players looked at (James and Bosh going to Miami). Those (former players) wouldn't have tried to team up. So what Otis said wasn't a stupid remark. Unless of course you have a different opinion than Pat, then apparently it's stupid."

"Whether it's appropriate to do it or not (to pass judgments) is another issue, but if it's OK for Pat to do it he shouldn't be judging other people," Van Gundy said. "Pat was upset that he and his guys have gotten some criticism and he's sensitive and the funniest part of the whole thing is him saying he doesn’t worry about what people say. My question is then, 'Why did you go and call your own press conference?'"

"Pat getting onto people for making moral judgments made me laugh," Van Gundy continued. "I was with Pat when we had all of those Knicks series and he had no problem making moral judgments on my brother. What I read into that was that I guess Pat is the only one allowed to make those moral judgments and the rest of us can't do that. I guess we didn't realize that Pat's the only allowed to do that."
Wow. I haven't seen bickering like this since watching two teenage girls get into a slapfight over the last Twilight hoodie at Spencer's.

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