Pat Riley Says He Took LeBron James' Heat Exit Personally and Was 'Very Angry'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 25, 2017

In this May 5, 2013 photo, Miami Heat NBA basketball player LeBron James, left, holds his NBA Most Valuable Player award as he poses with team president Pat Riley, in Miami. Before James makes his next decision, Riley will get a chance to convince him to stay in Miami. Two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press late Sunday night, July 6, 2014, that James will meet with the Heat president this week before making a decision about where to play next season. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
J Pat Carter/Associated Press

Three years after LeBron James' departure from the Miami Heat, team president Pat Riley has made it clear he wasn't happy with how things ended between the two parties.

In a profile by ESPN The Magazine's Wright Thompson, Riley spoke about the phone call he received from James to inform the Heat president he was going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2014.

"I was silent," Riley said. "I didn't say anything. My mind began to just go. And it was over. I was very angry when LeBron left. It was personal for me. It just was. I had a very good friend who talked me off the ledge and kept me from going out there and saying something like Dan Gilbert. I'm glad I didn't do it."

Riley has not hidden his feelings about the way things went down with James during the summer of 2014.

He told B/R's Ethan Skolnick in March 2015 that what James "had here [in Miami], and what he had developed here, and what he could have developed over the next five or six years here, with the same team, could have been historic."

James played four seasons with the Heat from 2010 to 2014. He led the franchise to four appearances in the NBA Finals, winning titles in 2012 and 2013, and he won two of his four career MVP awards in Miami.

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