Pat Riley is truly an NBA legend, or Herro if you will.
His Miami Heat team is up 3-1 on the Boston Celtics and are just one win away from yet another NBA Finals trip, and that’s without any of the Big Three, who defined the most recent Heat championship era, and without ever tanking in an attempt to get the number one pick. To go from losing Chris Bosh, the face of the franchise Dwyane Wade, and of course LeBron James and be where they are today has to be one of the most remarkable examples of team building we’ve ever seen.
As this time around, unlike their two previous title teams, it wasn’t nearly as simple as trading for Shaquille O’Neal or signing James. The Heat have had to draft well as evidenced by the star-making performance from rookie Tyler Herro, the 13th pick in 2019, and the entire playoff run from prototypical modern big man Bam Adebayo, the 14th selection in 2017.
They also rightly believed Jimmy Butler could be the best player on a contender this past offseason, when a host of other teams clearly didn’t, and stated their commitment to winning in dealing for Goran Dragic in 2015.
All of this led by a head coach in Erik Spoelstra who went from tape operator to one of the best minds in the league with organizational support throughout, even when speculation about his job status was rampant.
We hear the word culture a lot, well it certainly applies to the Heat led by a team president who has championships as a player, coach, and executive, but may be in the midst of his most impressive feat.
Riley once famously put his rings on a table in a free agent meeting in putting together the aforementioned Big Three and now has a chance at being able to throw another one down, because for him and the Miami Heat, losing is always off the table.