Pat Riley focused on patching up past conflicts: ‘That’s not how I’m going to end my career, my life’

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As Pat Riley prepares to present Chris Bosh for enshrinement in the basketball Hall of Fame, the veteran coach and executive is trying to make amends with a number of his former superstar players.

Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel looked at how Riley is making sure that he fixes any lingering issues he might have had in the past before he finally calls it a career

Riley coached players such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade and Bosh, but his trademark intensity caused conflicts in his relationships with each of those players.

During his time as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, he butted heads with Johnson. After joining the Heat, Riley nearly fought with O’Neal, conducted bitter contract negotiations with Wade and refused to allow Bosh to risk his health by continuing to play.

All of those situations led to once-friendly relationships being put on ice, something that the 76-year-old Riley now realizes couldn’t continue.

“I do not ever want to run into Shaquille or run into Dwyane or into Magic or Chris somewhere and not be able to go up and give ‘em a hug,” Riley said. “That’s not how I’m going to end my career, my life.”

Riley has since retired the numbers of O’Neal and Bosh with the Heat, went back to vacationing with Wade and once again connected to Johnson.

The patching up of his relationship with Bosh ultimately led to the request for Riley to present him for enshrinement on Saturday night. With Riley’s time in basketball getting shorter with each passing day, he’s making sure that he remains close to those who helped him attain his own legendary status.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.