Despite a 14-year age gap, Danny Ainge and Pat Riley may be set to join the legends of ‘Kobe vs. Shaq’, ‘Kobe vs. Smush Parker’ and the newly forged ‘Kobe vs. Dahntay Jones’ as basketball’s biggest beefs. The Boston Celtics’ President of of Basketball Operations had some comments about LeBron James’ complaints about the officials in the Heat’s streaking-breaking loss to the Chicago Bulls. In the heated clash with the Bulls, LeBron was leveled by hard fouls from Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson, before being hit with a flagrant 1 foul for his blow on forward Carlos Boozer.
Post-game, the MVP fancy couldn’t help but comment on the situation, telling reporters: “It’s been happening all year, and I’ve been able to keep my cool and tell [Erik Spoelstra], ‘let’s not worry about it’. But it is getting to me a little bit. Every time I try to defend myself, I’ve got to face the consequences of a flagrant or a technical foul or whatever the case may be. It’s tough. It’s very tough.”
Ainge, a two-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics during his playing career, discussed the situation with Boston radio station WEEI following the comments. Ainge disagreed with LeBron’s assessment of the situation and backed the referees on both counts, in allowing the hard fouls from Gibson and Hinrich and also calling the flagrant foul for the shot on Boozer. However, Ainge made sure his comments hit home by adding, “I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating.”
Not a man to let his players go defenseless, Heat President Pat Riley released a brutal statement through the team to officially respond to Ainge. “Danny Ainge needs to shut the f— up and manage his own team. He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him.”
Riley coached the legendary ‘Showtime Lakers’ through the eighties while Ainge was a part of the famous Celtics team led by Larry Bid, a decade-long rivalry that is now carved into NBA folklore. While it has since subsided, I’m sure Riley was especially provoked by Ainge’s comments because he was a Celtic. The Celtics have been tormentors for Riley since he left the Lakers, with the Heat and Celtics locking horns in some intense battles since Riley brought together Miami’s Big 3.
Ainge has since moved to distance himself from a beef, stating “I think we were both right,” and conceded he was a frequent complainer during his playing days, and also agreed he should manage his own team. However, if the preceding Lil Wayne/Pusha-T feud has taught us anything about modern day beef, this isn’t the end of it. Following the exchange of words, both will proceed to downplay it, and then make passive-aggressive allusions to each other in their upcoming songs. Prepare to see Danny Ainge go off on his upcoming single, with featuring vocals from The-Dream.
Alternatively, I’d be happy to see Doc Rivers’ proposal go into action. The Boston coach told reporters. “I think it’s funny. Very interesting. I think it’s cool. They should duke it out.” While both men are known more for their work on the basketball court, I’d be very keen to see them square off the boxing ring. Personally, I’d take Pat Riley in a split decision.