Pat Riley’s style doesn’t exist without Pat Riley’s substance.
One needs the other to make his basketball philosophy work. He loves his stars and he loves his role players who share a common denominator: hard work.
For the first time since the LeBron James-era Heat crumbled, the Heat president returns to the NBA Finals with a team assembled in his vision.
"He wants to win — at everything," Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler said. "He's so much like everybody on this roster. And I'm sure he takes the losses just as hard as we do. You can tell that he's just as excited as we are whenever we win. And those are the people that you fight for, you run through a wall for, because he's in it with you."
Not only is Riley back in the Finals, his Heat will play James and the Los Angeles Lakers — the player whose departure in 2014 stung Riley and the team he coached famously for nine seasons and led to four championships as he strolled the sideline in high-end couture for the Showtime Lakers featuring Magic, Kareem and Worthy.