Remember a couple weeks ago when the Heat selected Shabazz Napier with the 24th pick in the draft to appease LeBron? Shabazz wasn’t going to be the reason that LeBron would stay in Miami, but making the effort to trade up and get Napier would be a small gesture to LeBron. Not a big shiny anniversary ring or anything, but a small little gift as a token of their appreciation for what LeBron had done–just an example of the commitment they had to LeBron and his vision of the team. Pat Riley claimed he was a fan of Napier’s game anyway, and that the move was not purely to appease LeBron:
“I know LeBron tweeted something out in the NCAA [tournament] about him. Why not. If LeBron and I have the same taste in talent, so be it. But he didn’t call me on the phone, or he didn’t make a point to me about it.”
But everyone knew that was BS. Ever since the NCAA tournament, LeBron had been complimenting Napier’s game and ability to run a team. Napier seemed to be profoundly lucky. Not that he wouldn’t have already been selected in the first round of the draft, but to having the best player on the planet so fond of you is definitely good for pro prospects.
When Napier had officially been dealt to the Heat, he soon created a Twitter page. Naturally, the first player he followed was LeBron. But then the relationship took a turn for the worse. LeBron bolted for Cleveland, leaving Napier to a crumbling franchise. How could you do him like that, LeBron?! First, Napier was traded on draft night by the Hornets, home of Kemba Walker, Napier’s former college teammate and very close friend. Then LeBron left Miami, leaving Napier with a decrepit core of players. So what’d Napier do?
The only thing to do in that situation: unfollow LeBron. And then delete the tweets you had sent him after being drafted. That’s right. Napier could’ve gone 2010 Cleveland on LeBron, if he owned an old LeBron jersey. But this is more meaningful. While everyone else was applauding LeBron, patting him on the back for his maturity, Napier was coldly unfollowing him.
That’s the kind of thing Pat Riley would do.