“Danny Ainge needs to shut the f— up and manage his own team,” Riley said in a statement released through a Heat spokesman. “He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him.”
Ainge told Boston radio station WEEI earlier this week that James had no cause to challenge officials for failing to classify fouls assessed to Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson on James as flagrant.
“I think the referees got the calls right. I don’t think it was a hard foul,” Ainge said then. “I think the one involving LeBron against [Carlos] Boozer, that was flagrant. I think the officials got it right.
“I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating.”
Ainge quickly responded to Riley later Friday.
“I would say we’re both right,” he said. “LeBron should quit complaining; I complained as a player and I should manage my own team. We’re both right.”
Later, after admitting Riley was right about how Ainge complained as a player, he added: “Pat Riley’s right. I should manage my own team. I complained a lot to the officials. And I’m right, LeBron should be embarrassed about how he complains about the calls he gets.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers found Riley’s comments “funny.”
“Very interesting. I think it’s cool. They should duke it out,” Rivers said, laughing, according to the team’s Twitter account.
Asked if Rivers believes Riley’s statement could further stoke the Miami-Boston rivalry, Rivers noted, “Not unless they are playing. Really, I just think it’s talk both ways. I’ll let those two grown men handle their own grown-men argument. I’m going to stay out of it. On a side note, it just gives me a smile and it’s interesting. I think it’s fun. It’s a flashback.”
Information from ESPNBoston.com’s Chris Forsberg was used in this report.
This article was originally posted on ESPN.com