Former NBA player Stephen Jackson revealed that he didn’t want to play for the Miami Heat after going through one of Pat Riley’s grueling minicamp workouts.
“I went to a mini – not even training camp,” Jackson said. “They got the minicamp in the summer before training camp. I went to that. First – after stretch – 10 minutes on the clock, 10 minutes of three-man weave. I said, ‘I don’t want to play here.’”
Riley has been known to have tough conditioning drills and requirements for his players to keep his teams in the best shape possible.
It has certainly worked out, as the Heat won multiple titles during the Big 3 era with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and they’ve also been to the NBA Finals in two of the last four seasons since signing Jimmy Butler.
Back in 2020, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst shared the story of Butler failing a conditioning test with the Heat. In the article, Windhorst shared that some athletic trainers have said the test is the “most demanding such test in all of the NBA or NFL.”
“To be admitted to training camp, a player has to run the length of the court 10 times in under a minute,” Windhorst wrote. “Then two minutes recovery. Then again. Two minutes recovery. Then again. And again. And again.”
Heat guard Josh Richardson, who played with the team earlier in his career and returned to Miami in free agency this offseason, explained back in 2019 some of the requirements that players face to be in the organization.
“They call it ‘world class conditioning,’” Richardson said at the time. “When you get to camp, they expect you at a certain bodyweight, a certain conditioning level, because from day one, you’re hitting the ground running. They have a conditioning test down there that’s not easy so it’s your first introduction to training camp, honestly, because it’s like a week before.”
Jackson clearly didn’t want to be a part of that conditioning regimen, and it may be a reason why he didn’t play for the Heat in his lengthy NBA career.
A one-time NBA champion, Jackson played for the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Bobcats, Atlanta Hawks, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers in his NBA career.
While Riley’s methods aren’t for everybody, it’s hard to deny that they don’t bring positive results.
The Heat have only missed the playoffs six times since the 1995-96 season when Riley joined the franchise as the team’s head coach.
Now as an executive, Riley still holds his teams to a high standard, and it has paid off year in and year out.