Pat Riley summoned forces of evil to lure LeBron to the Heat
For a city that made a mound of cocaine a must-have desktop accessory and likes its Brittos to match its Lamborghinis, this level of glossy athletic excess is only appropriate: Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James, three of the best ballers in the NBA, all descending on Miami to brutally pound opponents like hapless veal calves.
The best part, as we rip the heart from gasping northeast Ohio and crush it into mofongo: Miami doesn't even care about basketball. Cue the Scott Storch beat. Get Will Smith to do some languid salsa moves on a beach, zoom in on J.Lo's bikini-clad rear, and Photoshop out the black sludge lapping onto the sand. After a recession that had our villas in foreclosure, our Benzes in the repo lot, and our white linen suits in consignment, one stammered, overwrought, and overhyped decision on national television made it official: Miami's back, baby.
How in hell did Pat Riley pull it off? Free Tyler Weinman, because we've found the real cat killer. The Heat president had to have sacrificed an entire genus of animals to the Santería gods, after all, to arrange for this strike of black magic.
Bosh called Coach Slick a "mastermind-type genius." Miami Herald sportswriter Dan Le Batard termed him a "gangster." The dude still wears Armani suits and greased-back hair 20 years after Gordon Gekko made that look synonymous with greed and evil. With his wise-guy cragginess and cut-you-in-half laser gaze, Riley probably reduced LeBron James to a quivering puddle of tears, Vitaminwater, and diamonds when they held a seance at the superstar's Akron mansion.
Riley, who presumably packs a Persian cat on business trips so he can stroke it during negotiations, made the overmatched man-child-with-a-king-complex an offer he couldn't refuse.
Which reminds us: Do you really think basketball's Keyser Söze, after orchestrating the greatest sports coup since the Yankees got Babe Ruth for $200,000, will let Erik Spoelstra — the dull uncle at the Thanksgiving table — have the wicked fun of riding this three-backed beast to the NBA Finals? Come next spring, Riley wants to be the one prowling the sidelines like a hypnotic shark — and we just saw him emerging from a Little Haiti botanica with a new, black-mopped vodou doll.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.