Heat President Pat Riley seems combative and oddly confused about why so many people appear to dislike his team. And that makes for good copy. From the AP, which we don't normally see using exclamation points in direct quotes (bold is ours for emphasis):
Speaking at length with reporters for the first time since the Heat acquired James and Chris Bosh to play alongside Dwyane Wade this summer, Riley revealed he thought some critics of Miami's roster moves should "get a life." He is also certain it'll be a motivating point for his team throughout the season.
"I know one thing," Riley said. "We will show up and we will play games. And our team will be ready. And I think that's the way we can answer all the critics."
Riley specifically cited Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith and former NBA star turned analyst Charles Barkley as examples of people who took what the Heat president thought were unwarranted shots at the way the Heat went about business this summer. He also mentioned Magic coach Stan Van Gundy -- Riley's former protege in Miami -- as well.
On the day after Miami signed James to a six-year contract that lured him away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smith said, "I thought he was, I guess, more of a competitor."
Riley responded to that Friday, saying Smith made "an absolutely stupid remark. He never made any kind of comment like that when he signed Rashard Lewis and he brought him down from Seattle with a $128 million contract."
Barkley went a step farther, saying James "is never going to be the guy" in Miami because he'll have to share the spotlight with Wade and Bosh. James responded a month later on Twitter, saying "Don't think for one [minute] that I haven't been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!"
Riley said he thought Barkley allowed his remarks to become personal attacks.
There have been countless other critics of James, Wade, Bosh and the rest of the Heat in recent weeks, and Riley said he's having trouble understanding the need for venom.
"I take a little bit of umbrage to some of the things that came from people in our game that all of a sudden have become the moral conscience or moral authority on the decisions that every team or some individual might make concerning his life or his career," Riley said.