2006 was a long time ago but, this week, Miami Heat president Pat Riley called on a memory from that time period with an eye toward the future. In a televised interview with ESPN’s Dan Le Batard, Riley spoke glowingly of the work of Dwyane Wade in the 2006 NBA Finals, as the future Hall of Fame guard led Miami to a wild victory over the Dallas Mavericks. With that in mind, he referenced a now famous quote from Wade of “I ain’t going out that way” and, in doing so, looked ahead to his future with the organization.
“Maybe that’s why I’m not going to retire,” Riley said. “I ain’t going out this way, until we win another title.”
It isn’t as if the Heat are undergoing a gigantic title drought, as the team brought glory to Miami just six seasons ago when the group led by Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James put together back-to-back championships. Still, Riley is used to leading teams that are a part of the NBA’s top tier and his multi-decade track record speaks for itself, both as a head coach and now as an executive.
On the flip side, the Heat aren’t exactly in the best position to compete for titles in the short term, with a bloated salary cap sheet and a roster that might allow for a trip to the playoffs but one that will likely facilitate an early exit. At the age of 74, it might seem, at least from the outside, as if Riley would be nearing retirement with that potentially bleak future on the horizon but, in the past, he’s been able to pull off miracles and this interview doesn’t portray a person ready to shut it down anytime soon.
It is fair to wonder whether Riley and the Heat will win another championship before he steps away into a different role, either in Miami or elsewhere. The legendary figure wasn’t exactly holding back this week, however, which is part of his legacy.