2010 Miami Heat: Five Motivational Factors Pat Riley Will Use
The Miami Heat and LeBron James have taken their fair share of criticism ever since "the decision." Okay that's an understatement; it’s been more than a fair share. Everyone has felt the need to voice their own opinion on the matter whether reporters have asked them or not.
The list of detractors is seemingly greater than the supporters. We've heard from current players, former players, coaches, owners and GM's. All the while Pat Riley stood quiet behind the scenes without uttering a word. That changed September 10th when Riley finally ended his silence.
Here are some of the things he had to say to all the Heat critics:
"Get a life."
"I take a little bit of umbrage to some of the things that came from people in our game that all of a sudden have become the moral conscience or moral authority on the decisions that every team or some individual might make concerning his life or his career."
Riley's most significant quote provides the basis for my article:
"I know one thing, we will show up and we will play games. And our team will be ready. And I think that's the way we can answer all the critics."
The Miami Heat organization strives on preparation and you can guarantee they will be ready when the NBA kicks off the regular season Oct. 26th with the Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics. Aside from their intense conditioning they have one of the great motivators in Pat Riley, President of the team.
Riley will take every critic's words and use them to fire up the team. LeBron James' twitter comment demonstrates that possibility: "Don't think for one (minute) that I haven't been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!"
Riley has taken mental notes too and expect them to be on the bulletin board before every game. The following are possible statements that will make it on that board.
Charles Barkley had plenty to say about LeBron, and although he never really criticized the Miami Heat there is no reason his statements will not be used to motivate not just LeBron but the team as a whole.
How Pat Riley plans to exploit Barkley's words are unknown, but there is no doubt he will be on on the bulletin board before every game.
Orlando Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith
Orlando Magic coach, Stan Van Gundy, recently called Chris Bosh Wade's "lap dog" because he followed Wade around wherever he went. Let's not forget the reason he may have followed Wade around had to do with the fact that both have the same agent, but never mind important specifics like that.
Couple that with General Manager Otis Smith's comment on LeBron where he thought he was "more of a competitor" or "great ones" do it on their own and "usually stay in one location."
You can be assured that when the Heat play the Magic this season Wade his "lap dog" and LeBron will come out firing on all cylinders constantly reminded by Riley of all the things the Magic brass said about them.
The outcome will leave the majority of Magic fans wishing their coach and general manager had just shut their mouth.
LA Lakers Coach Phil Jackson
LA Lakers coach Phil Jackson was recently on ESPN 100 in Chicago and said this when asked about the Heat:
"They got great talent, There's no question about the talent they have. But talent doesn't always win. The team that shows the best teamwork will win it. We think that [the Lakers] have established something. But, if [the Heat] can unite -- and build quickly -- they might be able to do it."
Now I don't necessarily have too much of a problem with the statement as a whole but his one line "talent doesn't always win" strikes me as odd since the majority of his teams have always had a tremendous amount of talent.
This statement may have been ill-advised just because Riley could use this to motivate his team to gel together quickly in order to compete against the elite teams. Specifically the Lakers if the Heat do meet them in the finals.
It is why I believe moving the practices to Eglin Air Force Base at Fort Walton beach was a smart move by Riley. Similar to Doc Rivers when he took the Celtic's team overseas in order to help build team chemistry when they acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to create their own version of the big three; I believe it will have a comparable effect.
For the Heat fan base, they can only hope it yields the same result.
Dan Gilbert and His Infamous Letter
No one has provided more bulletin board material then Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Here's just a piece of that letter:
"This shocking act of disloyalty from our homegrown 'chosen one' sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And 'who' we would want them to grow up to become. But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called 'curse' on Cleveland, Ohio. The self-declared former 'King' will be taking the 'curse' with him down south. And until he does 'right' by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma. Just watch."
Last I checked he gave seven years of his career to the Cavaliers and just felt it was time to move on. The irony in his mention of LeBron's bad lesson to children comment is that the author of the letter should be examining that very concern with his reaction. What message does he send to kids with writing this letter?
The sad thing is this reaction, although acceptable to a lot of Cleveland Fans, will prove detrimental to the franchises' ability to recruit free agents and other superstars to play for them. That has been one of the main criticisms drawn by the media and some players. Why would someone play for an owner who treats their main superstar, who was free to leave, this way?
Ultimately, much of the vitriol that was spewed will find its way into Riley's bag of motivational tools.
Michael Jordan and All Others That Criticized the Heat's Big Three
Charles Barkley was not the only former player to bash on LeBron and the Miami Heat. Michael Jordan decided to chime in as well:
"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."
Magic Johnson also expressed his thoughts:
"We didn't think about it cause that's not what we were about, from college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird."
I find it hard to believe that Magic Johnson wouldn't have tried to go and play with a certain team or for any superstars. Especially when before he was drafted he stated that if the Bulls and not the Lakers received the number one pick in the draft, that he would go back and play his senior year of college. I guess he just has selective memory.
It doesn't stop at former players as even current players have had something to say as well. Personally I believe those who have been critical may want to take their words back because as LeBron stated he is taking mental notes and if he happens to forget Riley will help remind him and the rest of the Heat team.