Pat Riley and Danny Ainge have been rivals for a long time. When Riley coached the Lakers, Ainge played for the Celtics. Now, both are executives, Riley for the Miami Heat and Ainge for his Boston squad.
And there is no love lost between the two.
Riley has pulled the strings in South Beach for years, putting together one of the most talented groups of individuals in the history of the sport. Ainge’s Big Three in Boston (Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce) won a championship, but they are not considered to be nearly what Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and especially LeBron James are for Riley’s squad.
Thus, Mr. Riley was not exactly pleased with Ainge’s recent comments regarding his star player. The Heat had compiled a 27-game win streak, the second longest in the history of the NBA, only to have it snapped by a blue-collar Chicago Bulls squad. Once it was all over, James complained that the refs should have called flagrant fouls against the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson at two different points in the game but never did.
After that, Ainge went on talk radio in Boston and called James’ complaints “embarrassing”.
Bold, Mr. Ainge, very bold.
Riley did not bother with responding to Ainge’s words personally. According to USA Today, the Heat’s public relations department released a statement on Riley’s behalf:
“Danny Ainge needs to shut the f— up and manage his own team. He was the biggest whiner going when he was a player. I know that because I coached against him.”
Even better than the statement’s release itself?
The f-word was actually spelled out in the statement, because Pat Riley wanted it to be.
Are we drooling over a potential playoff series between these two?
Yes, yes we are.