The NBA fined Miami Heat president Pat Riley for comments he made about LeBron James

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The NBA on Wednesday fined Miami Heat president Pat Riley $25,000 for seemingly innocuous comments about Los Angeles Lakers and former Heat superstar LeBron James, announced that Riley was being disciplined for “violating the league’s anti-tampering rule.”

During Dan Le Batard’s 24-hour streaming marathon Friday and Saturday, Riley was asked by a Le Batard staffer about leaving a key out for Dwyane Wade, now a part owner of the Utah Jazz.

But Riley thought the question was about James, who spent four seasons with the Heat before returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers in July 2014.

“I would leave the key under the doormat if he would call me and let me know that he’s coming,” Riley said. “I would do that, but I doubt very much that key … That key is rusted now.

“LeBron, look, he’s one of the greatest of all time, and for four years down here, if we want to go back and remember what those four years were like, it was four years in the Finals, four years of excitement, two world championships with LeBron, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Udonis [Haslem], all of them. It was the best time for the Heat. So I wish him nothing but the best, and if he ever wanted to come back, I’ll put a new shiny key under the mat.”

Riley then said his comments “will just get me fined for tampering” by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

When told that the question was about Wade — and not James — Riley said Wade, too, would be welcomed back.

“Whatever Dwyane decides to do with the rest of his life or the NBA and whatever he decides to do in Los Angeles, I’m happy as hell he was offered the opportunity be part-owner of a franchise and congrats to him,” Riley said. “When Utah comes back and plays, we will probably take his jersey down for that night. Dwyane will always have the key under the mat; it’s gold in this city.”

The key-under-the-mat line of questioning was a reference to a 2016 newspaper ad taken out by the Heat after Wade left for the Chicago Bulls. The Heat, in that ad, said: “We’ll leave a key under the mat for you. Thank you for 13 unforgettable years. Best of luck in Chicago.”

James, 36, is under contract with the Lakers through the 2022-23 season.