Pat Riley found himself in a bit of hot water this weekend while giving his end of the season presser. He talked about the Finals, his team's health, and he did the one thing you cannot do. He said the word "asterisk"
It's a long presser, but here's the part that got everyone bent out of shape
“They beat us fair and squarely. They were the best team. But there’s always going to be that asterisk, that caveat.
“If we had Bam and Goran—Goran was our leading scorer in the playoffs—at 100 percent, it could have gone to a seventh game,”
Naturally, the internet went nuts and the narrative became that Riley was putting an asterisk next to the Lakers title. Heat fans were quick to say that Riley was taken out on context and that it was all the media's fault. Well here's the thing. First, everything Riley does is calculated. Don't be naive. But even if you want to believe his spinzone here, that he was actually talking about the Heat having the asterisk because of their health, well that doesn't make too much sense either. He didn't say their run has an asterisk because THEY got to face teams that were injured. Remember, the Pacers were without their best player, the Celts were without Gordon Hayward, they definitely caught their fair share of injury luck. I'm not even going to mention Giannis because the Heat were already up 3-0, but if you want to you could.
Riley knew that even if he gave the Lakers credit, which he did, the second he uttered the word asterisk that's all that would matter. Maybe it was a way to try and take a dig as LeBron or something seeing as how those two hate each other. The thing is, NBA history is littered with teams that got screwed by injuries late in the playoffs. It's how the cookie crumbles. Riley knows that, he's been in the league for like 50 years.
The thing that's confusing is I'm not sure how on one hand you can say the title was legitimate and they beat you fair and square, but then immediately after that say your loss has an asterisk next to it. Seems to me like you're taking something away from the Lakers title while trying to mask it as the opposite.
When you say the word "asterisk" you just come off as salty. There are a million other ways to describe the NBA Finals and how the Heat did. The fact that he doubled down and said it again tells me it wasn't an accident. It's a shame really because the Heat have nothing to be ashamed of. Their bubble run was awesome and could very well have jump started a new era of Heat basketball. There's no need for you to utter the word "asterisk", that's lame.