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May 29, 2006

Pat Riley


Q. Pat, Zo was very good yesterday in talking about not having a ring and how he feels about this opportunity this season. Has he talked to you about that at any point, even when you signed him, and what has he said and what have you said?
PAT RILEY: We've been together for a long time, so we both are fused at the hip with that philosophy. We don't speak about it that much, but I know how much he wants it and how hard he works. He works harder than anybody else on the team. Before and after practice, he's always in the weight room and constantly working on his abdomen area where he was injured. He's highly motivated.
Q. As someone who's done this job for a long time and has worked at it, how do you feel with the notion that but for the bounce of a basketball, you're viewed as a genius or an idiot?
PAT RILEY: (Laughing) I leave that up to the smart media (laughter). They're the ones that characterize it.
When I was younger, I think that was something that was bothersome, but that's not how I look at it anymore. I made the statement today about leaving nothing behind and no retreat and no regrets. You do the best job you can do and you don't worry about the consequences, you just do the best job you can do. That's what we're trying to do. We want to win a championship just like Dallas and just like Detroit and Phoenix. We're the four that are standing. When it's all said and done, we'll see who's the last one.
Q. I'm not going to pretend like I know what the thing is in the middle of the locker room, but I'm going to guess it might have something to do with Shaquille or him starting. How does he compare as far as other players --
PAT RILEY: (Laughing) Is there a little guessing game here?
Q. How does he compare to previous players you've had with that kind of thing, whether it be team motivation?
PAT RILEY: This is real. This has been a season-long deal. We just add to it. I used to go to a friend of mine's house in Los Angeles when I was coaching out there, and in the middle of his coffee table he had a big bowl there, and people used to come and he made them tear up a hundred dollar bill, tear it up and then throw it in there.
For years and years and years he was doing that. He just wanted to let us know that he wasn't going to spend the money, but he knew that you valued his presence. People do different things for different reasons. I did it, and as a matter of fact I sent him one not long ago in the mail for a new one. I wanted to sort of recontribute to the bowl because I haven't been back there for a long time.
Q. And that has what to do with anything (laughter)?
PAT RILEY: It has nothing to do with anything (laughter). That's what he wanted you to do if you were going to sit around his coffee table.

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