Riley, who you would think would be used to being hated by now, has been surprised by the amount of vitriol that has been directed at his Miami Heat club after winning the NBA title.
“The unexpected was the absolute national, I think, disdain,” Riley told The Dan LeBatard Show on 790 The Ticket in Miami. “That was surprising. I was on a team that people loved and hated and coached it in L.A. I coached against a number of teams, like the Celtics and Detroit that there was the same kind of national disdain.
“But in today’s modern age, when you put together a team like this with these kinds of players who are really good people — LeBron [James] and Chris [Bosh] and Dwyane [Wade], these are good people. … I think that’s the one unexpected and I think it was such a heavy weight on our guys that it really created a tremendous amount of angst.”
Riley also spoke about what it meant for James to finally break through, overcoming the adversity (while maybe sometimes self-inflicted) to win his coveted ring.
“I just know what kind of pain he really went through,” Riley said. “LeBron is a man’s man. He’s got the exterior, this armor that he has put up to take all the hits that he’s taken and to take them in a way where it doesn’t look like it bothers him where he answers that questions in a way that he should — in a professional manner. … I was just so happy for [LeBron]. I was so happy that he doesn’t have to carry that burden anymore.”