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Udonis Haslem admits he was scared of Pat Riley when he joined the Heat

Udonis Haslem, Pat Riley

It turns out Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem was afraid of Pat Riley when he first played in the NBA in 2003.

Haslem made the revelation during an interview with The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears on April 3.

“I used to be scared of Pat Riley when I first got here. Not physically scared of him, just intimidated. He is ‘the great Pat Riley.’

“But he had that quote that ‘Hard work doesn’t guarantee anything; but without it, you don’t have a chance. I repeat that a lot to kids. I repeat that a lot when I do speaking events. I repeat that a lot because I believe in it.”

Udonis Haslem had every right to feel intimidated. Prior to his rookie season in the NBA, Pat Riley already had won four NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and three NBA Coach of the Year awards — one with the Lakers and two with the New York Knicks.

Riley’s reputation as an intimidating coach and front office executive precedes him. He made his teams practice harder whenever they played poorly. That was his style. However, nobody can argue with the results.

Riley coached the Heat from 1995 to 2003 and from 2005 to 2008. He amassed a 454-395 (.535) win-loss record during that stretch. He guided the Heat to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 1996-97 and an NBA title in 2005-06.

For his part, Haslem — a hard-nosed power forward and native of Miami — has played his entire 16-year career with the Heat. He has averaged 7.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in 852 career appearances.

Haslem was a member of the Heat teams which won the NBA title in 2006, 2012, and 2013.