Pat Riley's Understanding of Championship Asterisks Deserves an Asterisk

Pat Riley
Pat Riley / Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals in a matchup of Pat Riley's former franchise and his current franchise. On Friday the Miami Herald published a new interview with Riley in which he said the following:

"They beat us fair and square. They were the best team. But there’s always going to be asterisk, that caveat. If we had Bam and Goran, Goran was our leading scorer in the playoffs, at 100 percent, it could have gone to seven games or whatever."

That's definitely an argument that can be made. It's the kind of thing that gets said about many games and series. People understandably focused on Riley's comment since it's Riley and it could technically count as a slight towards LeBron James.

Then yesterday Riley came forward again to clarify what he meant. Specifically, how his words were "wildly twisted out of context."

That doesn't really sound like anything was taken out of context considering his clarification is even less clear. At this point, we have to wonder if Riley even knows the point of an asterisk in sports. He keeps saying the Lakers were better team so there should be no asterisks for anyone since they won. What would the point of the asterisk be for the losing team? So when he sees the result he is reminded that they should have lost? How many of Riley's previous teams get an asterisk?

Do the '94 Knicks have an asterisk because John Starks shot so poorly in game 7? How about the '11 Heat? Or last season's Heat team?

It's the offseason. The Miami media obviously has access to Riley. Someone should ask him to clarify his clarification. Not to create sensational new headlines, but to gain some actual clarity and maybe ease Riley's mind. Or maybe this is what keeps him going. There's only one way to find out.