Heat president Pat Riley issues statement on LeBron James

Pat Riley's job is suddenly a lot harder.
Pat Riley's job is suddenly a lot harder. (USATSI)

More on LeBron's return: James chooses Cleveland | Doyel: Welcome back to Ohio

Miami Heat president Pat Riley issued a statement on LeBron James' departure on Friday evening, via the team's website:

While I am disappointed by LeBron's decision to leave Miami, no one can fault another person for wanting to return home. The last four years have been an incredible run for South Florida, HEAT fans, our organization and for all of the players who were a part of it. LeBron is a fantastic leader, athlete, teammate and person, and we are all sorry to see him go.

Over the last 19yrs, since Micky and I teamed together, The Miami HEAT has always been a championship organization; we’ve won multiple championships and competed for many others. Micky, Erik and I remain committed to doing whatever it takes to win and compete for championships for many years to come. We’ve proven that we can do it and we’ll do it again.

Now that's a classy way to say goodbye, and not something Riley is going to have to apologize for in a few years. It's a bit of a rallying cry and an expression of empathy for the fans, but it also shows Riley knows the Heat were fortunate to have the success they did with James. That's how to handle a superstar leaving.

CBS Sports Writer

James Herbert is somewhat fond of basketball, feature writing and understatements. A former season-ticket holder for the expansion Toronto Raptors, Herbert does not think the NBA was better back in the... Full Bio

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