Nearly every member of the organization can immediately recall a special moment with Riley. Forward Udonis Haslem, who has shined in the playoffs after missing nearly 70 games with an injury, said Riley pulled him aside and told him to stay with the fight “until it’s my time.” Guard Mike Miller described a team meeting during which Riley told players not to “let anyone take our dream away from us.”
“His talking,” Miller said, “is as good as it gets.”
Learning from the best
Spoelstra, who spent years cutting film for the Heat in what was virtually an entry-level position before rising to assistant coach, then head coach in 2008, said he talks to Riley every day after practice, occasionally knocking on his office door to chat, but never feels haunted by a legend’s shadow.
Though Spoelstra doesn’t forget his boss’s stature in the game, the boss still reminds him — at times.