Saturday , Sep , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Stan Van Gundy on Pat Riley`s complaining: ‘I was kind of amused by it’

“I thought it was pretty typical. I was kind of amused by it, especially reading down through the interview,’’ Van Gundy said. “He goes into Charles Barkley, me and Otis and then says he doesn’t worry about what people say. Wait, you called the press conference, you went off and everybody and you don’t care what people say? Clearly, he cares a great deal about what people say. I was laughing when I saw that.’’

Van Gundy wasn’t laughing when he read that Riley ripped him and Smith for questioning why James and Bosh would rather team together with Dwyane Wade in Miami rather than trying to win a championship on their own. Riley said the comment was “an absolutely stupid remark,’’ but several former great players such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Barkley reaffirmed that they would have never jumped ship on their teams simply as a way to chase a championship.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s safe to say the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic don’t like each other. Not one bit.

However, Pat Riley, the Heat’s lead executive, and Stan Van Gundy, the Magic’s coach, don’t just dislike each other –they hate each other.

Passionately.

Van Gundy was once Riley’s lead assistant on Miami’s bench. Back then, these two trusted each other. These two liked each other. And these two enjoyed a student-mentor relationship. 

When Riley retired from coaching, it was Van Gundy he picked as his successor. Of course, The Oil Slick couldn’t stay away from the spotlight, so he fired his former protégé one season after trading for Shaquille O’Neal.

Riley claimed the move was about helping the Heat win an NBA Title –which they did. Van Gundy claimed Riley put a knife in his back.

Whoever’s version you believe, their split was personal.

For a few years, Van Gundy held the edge over Riley because the Magic were Eastern Conference powers, advancing to the Finals in 2009.

The Three Kings changed the balance of power. Riley’s Heat now has momentum. And this, perhaps, prompted Magic GM Otis Smith and Van Gundy to publicly slag Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Riley.

So Riley responded. And Van Gundy, who never met a microphone he didn’t like, fired back.

The players will decide the battle of Florida on-court. Expect Riley and Van Gundy’s grudge match to extend well beyond 2011.

–Oly Sandor.


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