MIAMI — Without seeing the inside of Pat Riley's wallet, there's no way to know for certain if he still he keeps any of the custom cards there, the ones that say "Forever
." But he did. At least, that's what he revealed forever ago, before LeBron James had won two championships for the Miami Heat, and before he embarked upon the nearly-impossible project of replacing him.
You see, the Miami Heat president has coined the phrase "Forever Men
" to describe his favorite players, those who have given the most to him during his four-plus decades in the NBA, the ones he sees as most like himself. Magic Johnson is a Forever Man
. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a Forever Man
. Patrick Ewing is a Forever Man
. Alonzo Mourning is the ultimate Forever Man
, parroting so many of Riley's principles as a player, and now working with him in the Heat front office. And, even if they haven't always agreed on everything, Dwyane Wade is a Forever Man
You don't need to be a superstar to be a Forever Man
, if you embody his ideals. Udonis Haslem, a symbol of sweat and sacrifice, is for sure a Forever Man
, as will become evident when Haslem returns to the roster on another new contract. So is Brian Grant, who played for the Heat in the early 2000s.