According to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, "Pat created a culture with the Miami Heat. He works everybody hard and is a student of the game. It's not uncommon if you get to the office at 6:30 you might be the sixth or seventh person there."
In his article, Smith tells a story about how when Pat Riley is considering hiring someone, "he first checks the trunk of the applicant's car. If there are golf clubs in there, they're not hired. With Riley it's about work."
Smith writes that "when things go wrong [in Miami], Heat owner Mickey Arison doesn't begin looking for successors."
"I won 15 games," noted Riley. "There never was anything written I'd be fired. You take the good with the bad with a franchise and stay with it until you get back on track. In the league now, there's a chasm (too often) between the coach and GM. You have to be tied in some way. I feel it's important that me and Erik are almost one person.
One thing that stands out in all the years was [Erik's] someone you converse with about what you've done, who to trade, someone who has a lot of thoughts and not your typical thinking. He's someone who respectfully disagrees but after that we can unite on a situation.
He's one of those guys who apply their trade and don't look for recognition early, just work and learn. He wanted to learn before being recognized. You teach them and they take some of the culture and learn from a lot of people. I thought he was a guy ready a couple of years ago. You watch them grow, groom them to take your spot and that's the position I'm in."