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Heat's Pat Riley Calls LeBron James 'Maybe the Greatest Player of All Time'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2020

In this May 5, 2013 photo, Miami Heat team president Pat Riley, left, coach Erik Spoelstra, and LeBron James, right, poses in Miami  after James won the NBA Most Valuable Player award. 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

Miami Heat team president Pat Riley may have held a grudge against LeBron James for years after he left the team, but that doesn't mean he fails to recognize James' greatness.

Riley recently described LeBron as "maybe the greatest player of all time" in an interview on Fox Sports Sun when talking about how the Big Three Heat came together.

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“After July the first, I just laid it out on the table,” Riley said. “LeBron and Chris [Bosh], two of the greatest players in our game. And LeBron, maybe the greatest player of all time, with Dwyane [Wade]. All you have to do is put it on the table. 

"After July the first, to say, why keep banging your head against the wall like you have in Cleveland? Chris, in Toronto, having great seasons but never really getting very far in the playoffs. I said here's an opportunity."

The GOAT debate has been naturally firing on all cylinders as ESPN airs The Last Dance, chronicling the career of Michael Jordan and his final season with the Chicago Bulls. Team Jordan and Team LeBron are two diametrically opposed sects of social media, each harboring their beliefs about who is the greatest of all time.

Riley gave himself a bit of an out with his description, describing LeBron as "maybe" the best player in NBA history. Given the strain of their relationship after LeBron's departure, though, that level of a compliment from Riley speaks volumes. 

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