The Miami Heat are two wins away from their sixth trip to the NBA Finals in the last 15 years, and it’s largely because of the leadership of team president Pat Riley.
Team legend Dwyane Wade was recently asked about the possibility of Riley retiring if the Heat win the championship.
“Asked if championship success could bring the Riley era to a close after a quarter century of stewardship of the Heat, Wade said on 790-The Ticket that he sees the 75-year-old icon as game for more,” wrote Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
“’I don’t think so,’ Wade said of Riley moving on after a potential fourth championship under his Heat watch this postseason. ‘I think we’re going to have to roll him out.’
“’Look, I’ve heard him say a lot of things over my time. He said he wanted to build a team to get back to the championship. I see Riley just being there. That doesn’t mean someone else won’t eventually come in.’”
Riley has had a full NBA career during which he has been there and done that.
He won an NBA championship as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1972, then became an assistant coach in the 1979-80 season and picked up a second ring that season.
Two years later, he started a legendary career as a head coach that earned him four NBA titles with L.A. and one with the Heat in 2006.
After LeBron James left in 2014 and Chris Bosh was forced into retirement due to blood clots, it looked like Miami was going to be in for a long rebuilding project.
Instead, Riley has done a great job of drafting impact players late in the draft and even finding some who were never drafted, such as Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson.
Wade isn’t sure who would succeed Riley, although he feels that the organization should find someone from within.
“Like, who’s next?” Wade said. “Who’s going to be the next person to be president of the team? They got to get to that point where they start molding somebody. Because I don’t think they’re going to bring anybody in from the outside. So it has to be somebody inside.
“So who’s next? I don’t know if they’re molded someone yet or not.”
Wade quickly shot down any chance of succeeding Riley in the front office himself by giving one simple reason.
“I live in California, man,” he said. “I’m out here right now.”
Even if the Heat lose to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, their future looks extremely bright, no matter who is manning their front office.