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While the rivalry between the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat might lay dormant at times during the offseason, the venom between the two heated, hated sides clearly never bubbles too far below the surface.
And old rivals Otis Smith, Stan Van Gundy and Heat president Pat Riley have made sure that the vitriol between the two teams continues to flow all summer long.
Irked at some of the comments from Smith, Orlando’s President of Basketball Operations, and Van Gundy, the Magic’s head coach, following Miami’s free-agent signings of LeBron James and Chris Bosh in July, Riley went on the offensive on Friday. He was highly critical of Smith, Van Gundy and TNT analyst Charles Barkley for becoming the “moral conscious or moral authority’’ of players in the NBA.
Van Gundy, who worked in Miami with Riley for 12 seasons from 1995-2006, fired back on Saturday at the many inconsistencies in Riley’s behavior and criticisms through the years.
“I thought it was pretty typical. I was kind of amused by it, especially reading down through the interview,’’ Van Gundy said. “He goes into Charles Barkley, me and Otis and then says he doesn’t worry about what people say. Wait, you called the press conference, you went off and everybody and you don’t care what people say? Clearly, he cares a great deal about what people say. I was laughing when I saw that.’’
Did I not say it was personal between the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat?
These are two franchises that don’t like each other.