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Pat Riley Couldn't Help Himself And Took Some Very Obvious Shots At LeBron While Praising Dwyane Wade And His Legacy With The Heat

Nathaniel S. Butler. Getty Images.

This Saturday, the 2023 enshrinement ceremony for this year's HOF class will take place. It's a pretty loaded class, featuring 

  • Gene Bess
  • Gary Blair
  • Pau Gasol
  • Becky Hammon
  • David Hixon
  • Gene Keady
  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Tony Parker
  • Gregg Popovich
  • Jim Valvano
  • Dwyane Wade
  • ¨C12C

which definitely makes me feel old as shit. While some classes have guys who you may put in the Hall Of Very Good instead of the Hall Of Fame, I don't really see that with this class. With the ceremony being this weekend, naturally we're starting to get some quotes and soundbites about the inductees from those who knew them/played with them/coached them etc. For someone like Dwyane Wade, that means Pat Riley.

Alright, a few things here.

For starters, any time you have to come out and say "that's not an insult to LeBron", it's because you are in fact, 1000% insulting LeBron. We all know about the beef between those two after LeBron dipped to go back to the Cavs. That's never really changed even all these years later, so you're out of your mind if you don't think Riley is taking a bit of a dig at LeBron here.

At the same time, Riley's overall point isn't that crazy. I'd go so far to say it's actually the truth. DWade is the greatest Heat of all time if that makes sense. He's not the best player to ever suit up for MIA, that's very clearly LeBron, but in terms of identity with the franchise? In terms of legacy? Wade is that guy. During his time in MIA, Wade ranks

- 1st in games played (948)

- 1st in FGM (7,842)

- 1st in FTM (5,391)

- 1st in AST (5,310)

- 1st in STL (1,492)

- 1st in PTS (21,556)

- 1st in Offensive Win Share (72.)

- 1st in Defensive Win Share (44.0)

- 1st in Win Shares (116.1)

so yeah, that seems pretty good by my calculations. Add in his role in helping the Heat secure their first ever title in 2006, and I don't think it's that hot of a take to suggest that Wade has the greatest Heat legacy. He's just not the best player to ever play for them. It's sort of like how LeBron is also not the best Laker ever, but he's the best player to ever play for the Lakers. 

Now, part of the Wade legacy in MIA does include those two additional titles that came via the Heatles, which everyone can thank LeBron for, including Riley. If you wanted to, you could make the case that LeBron accomplished more as a Heat in his short time there than Wade did during his entire run, but to me that's just something that confirms he's the better overall basketball player than someone who had a more meaningful run with the franchise. 

So maybe Pat Riley just worded things wrong and this is what he meant, but I don't buy that. He knew what he was doing. He knew this was going to be a nice little dig at LeBron. That's the exact reason why he tried to say it wasn't in that quote. Who is that fooling? It's possible that what he's trying to get at is true, while also making sure to twist the knife with LeBron at the same time. Plus, it's also pretty clear Riley is trying to mend the fences with Wade after how their breakup went down in 2016-17.

Either way, DWade to the HOF is obviously a no brainer, and I love that he's having Allen Iverson do his induction speech. Those two had some pretty epic battles back in the day

But this goes to show that even after all this time, even with the Heat back to contending in a post LeBron world, Pat Riley still isn't over what happened. You kind of have to respect the grudge holding on his end. I bet he has a bottle of Ace of Spades with LeBron's name engraved on it as we speak.