Posted March 30, 2013

Heat’s Pat Riley fires back at Danny Ainge over LeBron James criticism

Ben Golliver, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, LeBron James, Miami Heat, Pat Riley
Pat Riley wasn't pleased with Danny Ainge's comments about LeBron James. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Pat Riley wasn’t pleased with Danny Ainge’s comments about LeBron James. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

Heat president Pat Riley is notorious for his silence in the media but he uncorked some top-shelf trash talk Friday, firing back at Celtics president Danny Ainge, who had criticized LeBron James for recent comments about the hard fouls he endures.

“Danny Ainge needs to shut the f— up,” Riley said in a statement, according to the Miami Herald. “[Ainge was the] biggest whiner going when he was a player. I know that because I coached against him.”

Ainge told Boston’s WEEI radio on Thursday that James, who ranks sixth in the NBA in free throws attempted this season, should not have complained about the officiating during a Wednesday night loss to the Chicago Bulls, which snapped Miami’s 27-game winning streak. James, who was called for a flagrant foul for running hard into Carlos Boozer, was upset about fouls he received from Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson.

“I think the referees got the calls right. I don’t think it was a hard foul,” Ainge said of the mix-ups involving James and Hinrich, as well as another one involving James and Taj Gibson. “I think the one involving LeBron against Boozer, that was flagrant. I think the officials got it right.

“I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating,” Ainge added.

The Sun-Sentinel reported James was glad to hear Riley’s comments.

Told by the Sun Sentinel of Riley’s response, James said, “Oh man, that’s awesome.”

The Boston Globe reported Ainge’s response Friday: “We’re both right. LeBron should stop complaining and I should manage my own team. … Pat Riley’s right. I should manage my own team and I complained a lot [as a player].”

Two fouls upset James: a bear-hug to the ground in transition by Hinrich and a Gibson slap down on his shoulder during a drive to the hoop.  He made a point of bringing up the fouls in his comments following a game that was unusually physical from start-to-finish.

“I’m not sitting here crying about anything,” James said. “I play the game at a high level, I play with a lot of aggression, I understand that some of the plays are on the borderline of a basketball play or not. But sometimes, you know, I don’t know … it’s frustrating.”

“I believe, and I know, that a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays,” James said. “First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. And the last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground.

“Those are not basketball plays. And it’s been happening all year. I’ve been able to keep my cool and try to tell [coach Erik Spoelstra], `Let’s not worry about it too much,’ but it is getting to me a little bit.”

James has not been fined by the league for his comments about the officiating.

Ainge, 54, played 14 seasons in the NBA for the Celtics, Kings, Blazers and Suns from 1981-1995. Riley, 68, played nine seasons in the NBA for the Rockets, Lakers and Suns from 1967-1976 before coaching the Lakers, Knicks and Heat for 24 seasons in a career that spanned from 1981 to 2008.

46 comments
JOE78
JOE78

Pat Riley, with that tasteless, cheap comment on Ainge shows, number one,his ongoing grudge against the superior Celtics, two, how senile he obviously is (that slicked back hair does NOT hide how much older than dirt he looks), three he AND Lebron are poor sports, four, Ainge is right that Lebron should be embarrassed about those stupid remarks, six Riley should REALLY be embarrassed about his lack of professionalism and quit being the cry-baby he accuses Ainge of being, seven, Ainge can say anything he wants in a land where we have freedom of speech, eight, Lebron is nothing more than a traderous, money-hungry coward who simply ABANDONED Cleveland!! Riley (or "Riles "as you have been called), quit your crying, and manage YOUR team! If you can't handle a few simple idle comments, (especially when Ainge was right!), then get the hell out of the NBA, Mr.HASBEEN!!!!!!!

GSWarriors
GSWarriors

Maybe the taj gibsom foul was a flagrant. But I dont think kirk did anything wrong. Lebron drove to the lane, obvioulsy on his power move, kirk intentionally fouled him cause he wont be able to overpower him. Kirk hugged him, let go before he landed on the floor. Hard foul, but clean play. Nothing dirty.

phoneman
phoneman

@OK, your hatred of LeBron James borders on an obsession. Your whining about him equals or bests Danny Ainge in his heyday.

RichardKeller
RichardKeller

Riley misses the old days when he was relevant.  Yes, LBJ is good, but the refs make him look better by protecting him and keeping him in games like Wilt Chamberlain {remember, Wilt never fouled out of any NBA game}.  LBJ needs to get over himself a bit.  I saw the Heat botch a 4 on 2 and when they did, LBJ was making stupid gestures because they didn't kick it out to him at the 3-point line.  I guess defenders should stop trying to defend LBJ once he gets within 8 feet of the rim.

busymom
busymom

Last time I checked, people had the right, in the United States of America, to voice their opinion.  That's what Ainge did, so why all the hoopla?  It's an opinion. Get over it. 

Mr. J
Mr. J

Ainge is a punk who needs to shut up..He was one of the biggest crybabies in the history of the game...Also Lebron rarely complains about calls after games so all the bitter Lebron haters get over it hope you enjoy watching the REPEAT this year...lol.....also 90% of all the greatest players complained about calls that was how they get refs to give them more favorable calls later ...its called working the refs..Get over it...BACK to BACK..deal with it!!

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Didn't Danny Ainge make his entire basketball career off that coast to coast play for BYU in the NCAA tournament? I mea, that was pretty much it, right? 

dinohealth
dinohealth

Attaboy, Pat! Danny who? Pat Riley knows basketball. He played on one of the greatest teams of all time. He also knows how to manage. Proven that over, and, over again. Now, I think Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever wear a uniform. I also think MJ is one of the most charismatic ever. I also think Oscar Robertson is right up there, close, as is Kobe, Larry, Magic, and a few other Celtic legends. I think, if Lebron James stays healthy, delivers a few more rings in his career, he will surpass all of them. He is an extraordinary, unique, combination of basketball force and talent, with more power, than we have ever seen. Those that can even play him, play him very physical. I remember, when I was a kid, they brought Pele (in the twilight of his career), to play in the Meadowlands. Every time he entered the game, he was subjected to some of the most physical defense (outright flagrant hitting), before he even touched the ball. There was hardly a red card pulled. Usually, he was pulled from the game, after being knocked down a few times, denying paying fans the opportunity to see legendary excellence and magic. That is the way some teams have playing LBJ this season. Enough is enough!

Bilbo
Bilbo

Sorry but to hockey players they're all a bunch of whiners....awww...he touched your arm...let's blow the whistle for that. I'd like to see Lebron drive to the hoop and have someone step into his chest with a hard shoulder and drop him to the floor...or throw a hip out and watch him somersault....routine play.

celtsfan
celtsfan

Riley just about ruined the NBA with the thugball he coached w the Knicks. LeBron gets the royal treatment practically all the time with his "crabwalk" antics and his running down the court running over the other team.

Refreshing to see calls made that don't favor him or his team!

Sportsblabber
Sportsblabber

Am I the only one who thinks that Riley overreacted?!  Ainge shouldn't have said anything -- and, of course, he was one of the all-time NBA whiners -- but what he said wasn't *that* bad!  This event reflects more poorly on Riley than anyone.

don2
don2

Ainge may have been a whiner.  But James is a moron.  It's hard to take anything he says too seriously.

SteveByers
SteveByers

Ainge whining as a player doesn't escape the fact that Lebron rarely gets called for a foul. But when he does he gets pissed. To make matters worse defenders get called for nothing against him. Riley doesn't like Ainge pointing out a huge advantage afforded him by the NBA.

GeorgeBroze
GeorgeBroze

Good for Pat. Ainge was the quintessential little whiner. And a dirty little player to boot.

Tito1
Tito1

Lebron and Riley are whiny little princesses.  First, Lebron would had never survived the Bad Boy Pistons and their rough style of play.  Had he come in the 80's, he would had not been the player he is now, but then again with the preferential treatment he always receive you never know.  And as for Riley, he forgot about how his Knicks of the 90's played: Mason, Starks, Oakley, Anthony, Ewing, Harper, Smith.  All those players were labeled "dirty players" and Riley never had a problem with that, and kept encouraging them to continue that style of play.  But since now someone talked bad and say something true about his favorite pet, he's crying foul.  And Ainge was another whiny player in his day anyways

riley8
riley8

How about they all shut the f up?

Splash
Splash

Pat Riley is so on point.  Ainge has no room to comment with his past.

mag3rzakar1a1
mag3rzakar1a1

You can tell the NBA treats it stars with preferential treatment. Had it been anyone else in the league who made the comments criticizing the officials or even hinted at the officiating, it would be a nice fine in the mail the next morning. Goin on Pat Riley with this one though

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

Considering all the postseason frustration James has personally delivered to Ainge the last few seasons, Ainge's opinion on the matter of the fouls (and James in general) reeks of jealous bias to me.

 

That being said, his calm follow up to Riley's put-down was admirable.   No doubt the reporters were annoyed he didn't keep fueling the fire.

OK
OK

 @phoneman 

And your blind obedience of Da Queen and his two cupcakes, Da Little Bosh Woman and Show Me Da Green or I Ain't Playin' for Da Red, White, and Blue (see the 2012 Olympics), reminds this reader of Jim Gray - minus, of course, the fat offshore payday.

ITATTRACTS
ITATTRACTS

 @busymom because the person saying it is a hypocrite. know basketball much? 

RichardKeller
RichardKeller

 @Mr. J Come back when Chicago or the Pacers knock the Heat out of the playoffs by playing physically and within the rules.  Also, LBJ doesn't know you exist, so stop acting like he's a friend of yours.

OK
OK

 @dinohealth 

Yeah, Pat Riley played for Racist Adolph "Hitler" Rupp on Kentucky's team that lost the 1965-66 NCAA title to Texas Western, the first team in NCAA history to start five African-American players.

 

Made Adolph "Hitler" Rupp and his five white starters choke on Dixie.

 

Read and learn something, chump.

 

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1140424/

stagger
stagger

 @Bilbo Maybe the 10 people that watch hockey will hurry over to hit the Like button...

 

OK
OK

 @Sportsblabber 

Danny Ainge is a punk, but Pat Riley's just Da Queen's Personal Punk. Da Queen Whines after choking against Da Bulls. So Pat Riley comes out sobbing for Da Queen.

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

 @SteveByers every superstar in the HISTORY of the NBA has gotten tons of calls... and they all complain when they dont get their way

 

lebron is just more heavily scrutinized by the media and his "LeBron anti-fan" club...

SteveByers
SteveByers

@Splash sure he does when Lebron gets an advantage every night. Danny wasn't entitled like Lebron is.

davidctomlinson
davidctomlinson

@leehwgoc Ainge has, what, 3 rings? And James, one? James should STFU.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

 @DaSpiderMonkeys Only partly.  Ainge is right insofar as suggesting that it's uncouth for James to complain publicly about fouls received; justified or not, it never goes down well.  Ainge is wrong, however, in claiming the fouls weren't hard fouls.  They were both the definition of hard fouls.  I don't know how anyone with functioning eyeballs can see those fouls and not call them hard fouls.

dinohealth
dinohealth

We are talking NBA, here! The "chump" is the person that commented with something so irrelevant, as you did! Now, I wonder if you read the story yourself. Particularly the part that Riley says, years later, about that loss: " It was the worst night of my basketball life, but I'm proud to have taken part in something that changed so many other people's lives." WTF is your problem, man? I might also add, that the "greatest team of all time" that I refer to in my original comment, was the Laker team that won 33 straight games!

me1
me1

 @stagger  @Bilbo Nah, there are 20 of us. We have our floppers and whiners too. Every sport does. But as a percentage of the league, there is no comparison. You HAVE to be an actor to survive in the NBA. 

OK
OK

 @RaySexauer  

And you're obviously another of Da Queen's Personal Punks.

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

 @SteveByers  @Splash nah, it was Larry Bird that got all the "entitlement" calls instead

 

let the lebron haters club convene as usual

Cherrie
Cherrie

if expressing an opinion becomes a privilege of those with rings, then Bill Russell must always have the floor. It would be GREAT to always hear what a great man, and not just a great player, has to say.

SteveByers
SteveByers

@leehwgoc @DaSpiderMonkeys Ainge is right in that when your given the preferential treatment Lebron gets you keep you trap shut in the rare event you do get called.

OK
OK

 @dinohealth  

 

Keep spinning for The Queen. Maybe she'll give you a post-game headband, chump.

dinohealth
dinohealth

@OK Seems to me, the Biggest Whiner there is, is you! You were so quick to pull out the "race-card" on my comment, it never crossed your mind that I was talking about the NBA team, the Lakers, that Riley played on! Not that what you said was relevant, either way. Sports have come a long way, my friend, and you ought to shed your anachronisms. I need to let you know, that I had read that article on the Rupp team, long before you pointed it out to me, and, apparently, a lot closer than you did. I have also read "Uncle Tom's Cabin", and, know the Britsh were the first to abolish slavery, in 1837.....So, I will see anything you write in here with a keen understanding of your "crying" sensitivities. By the way, you are talking with a former "champ", who has a proven record of making "chumps" out of loud-talking "Whiners" that have nothing to say.

OK
OK

 @dinohealth 

And the Greatest Whiners remain Da Alleged Rapist in LA and The Queen and Her Court of Spin Doctors in Miami, Bristol, and SI HQ in Manhattan.

OK
OK

 @Chachimogo1  

 

Simply identifying you and your fellow acolytes by their proper name, Da Queen's Personal Punks.

Chachimogo1
Chachimogo1

 @OK  @RaySexauer  Why are you using so many caps?  Da Queen's Personal Punks, is that the name of your band?

SteveByers
SteveByers

You don't see the connection?  It's one thing when your Danny Ainge complaining about fouls as a player.  He regularly got called for them.  LeBron does not regularly get fouls called.  When he does he shoudl suck it up and shut up.  The last time they played the Celtics, LeBron didn'g get his 1 fould until the 3rd quarter.  Then when he did get a call he was indignant.  "How dare you call a foul on me"!!!!  He's a total dooosh.