Author Claims LeBron Wanted Riley To Coach In Miami

Early in his first season in Miami, LeBron James sent a message to Heat president Pat Riley that he should take over coaching duties from Erik Spoelstra, author Ian Thomsen claims in a new book. That story is among several contained in “The Soul of Basketball: The Epic Showdown Between LeBron, Kobe, Doc, and Dirk That Saved the NBA,” which Thomsen promoted in a recent appearance on Zach Lowe’s podcast (Hat tip to Dane Delgado of NBC Sports).

Spoelstra was in his third year as head coach when a rift reportedly developed between him and James during a 9-8 start. After a loss to the Mavericks, James dropped a subtle hint to Riley that he wanted him back behind the bench.

“[I] asked how things were progressing,” Riley recalls in the book. “They just said, ‘We’re not feeling it, or something like that.’ We talked about the typical things we have to do, have patience, all that stuff. And I remember LeBron looking at me and he said, ‘Don’t you ever get the itch?’

“And I said, ‘The itch for what?’ He said, ‘The itch to coach again.’ I said, ‘No I don’t have the itch.’

“He didn’t ask any more questions and I didn’t offer any more answers but I know what it meant and I always go back and wonder what he was thinking at that time. He walked out scratching at his leg like it was itching.”

Riley, of course, remained in the front office as Spoelstra led Miami to four straight NBA Finals and a pair of championships. James was involved in a similar scenario after returning to Cleveland, where he reportedly clashed with coach David Blatt, who was eventually replaced by Tyronn Lue.

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25 thoughts on “Author Claims LeBron Wanted Riley To Coach In Miami

  1. sportsfan101

    Lebron can’t mesh with any coach. Good luck la. Time to deal with lebron and his me first attitude.

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    • SilvioDante

      Yeah, wonder how long it will take until LeBron undermine Luke Walton and push Magic into talking Phil Jackson to take over the team.

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      • Dionis

        Lebron would run Phil Jackson out of LA faster than he would Luke, he hates Phil Jackson.

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      • Kenleyfornia74

        Happens 1 time to Kyrie and all of a sudden no one wants to play with Lebron lol

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        • Dionis

          He should have stayed in Cleveland, Laker fans don’t want him there.

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          • Kenleyfornia74

            Im a Laker fan and i want him here. Dont care that he’s here just to become a hollywood mogul. We all know that. In the end he makes them a better team and thats all that matters. Only fools try and look into the drama.

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        • Look at how many trades the Cavs had to make to please LeBron.

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          • Dionis

            He’s in LA for business and nothing else. He can’t be stupid enough to think the Laker fan base will truly embrace him, I don’t think he cares anymore about championships. If it was about championships he would have signed with Houston or Philly.

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    • Djones246890

      I agree. In LeBron’s mind, he is the coach. The only coaches he would actually let coach him are Popovich and Riley….and maybe Thibs, but that’s a long shot, in my opinion. Other than those guys, forget it.

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  2. Dionis

    It’s going to be fun watching Golden State collect more championships while Lebron racks up stats. You ruined the NBA dude and the league gift wrapped you 3 championships and the Warriors got tired of your crap when Green should have got suspended against OKC and instead they suspended him when you wanted to step over the man being disrespectful. It’s going to be fun watching Lebron undermine that whole Lakers roster and make everyone a shooter. Magic was way over his head giving Lebron 154 million,he plays no defense,he’s a quitter, and will never be accepted as a true Laker. Kobe and Shaq were true assassins on the court, Laker fans should be disappointed.

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    • Kenleyfornia74

      Yoy really have multiple personality disorder. In a few articles your gonna go off on how Lebron will lead a new era of Lakers basketball while the Warriors dynasty will end

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  3. cesc

    When you have the GOAT in your team, you listen to him & you do whatever it takes to keep him happy, if you don’t he goes, all the teams want LBJ, all the players wanna play with LBJ, & the ones that don’t is simply because their ego, thinking they are better. But it isn’t even an argument, by statistics & metrics he is light years better than any other player that has ever played, as simple as. All the people that works & knows about hoops will tell you that.

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    • JD396

      And that’s how Cleveland beat GSW to win the finals four years in a row, right?

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    • Djones246890

      The GOAT?? Lol. Dude, he’s not the greatest of all time. Hate to break it to
      You.

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  4. Spyglass1

    I will miss LeBron as a Cavs fan but I will not miss the drama that follows LeBron. Go Cavs

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  5. supercollider

    James should just eliminate the middle man and make himself the coach.

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  6. greg1

    I had already heard this Riley story and I’m glad he stuck by Spo. LBJ didn’t get what he wanted, but he got two titles.

    We all know LBJ is a high maintenance baby, but the issue isn’t just him, it’s the owners (Gilbert) that cow tail to him. What if Bron had gone to Gilbert and Griffin asking for Blatt to be fired and they said no? Or when he asked for roster shakeups they again said they would do what was best for the team, not the King?

    The problem is that the Lakers are already proving to be Gilbert and not Riley. Walton doesn’t stand a chance, LBJ will run another coach out of town along with players he doesn’t like, and the Lakers brass is going to be fully complicit in it.

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    • x%sure

      It was Gilbert’s and Griffin’s idea.
      People are just making stuff up.

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