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Pat Riley Refers To LeBron James As The ‘Best Of All Time’

LeBron James holds the Larry O'Brien Trophy and Finals MVP Trophy. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James holds the Larry O’Brien Trophy and Finals MVP Trophy. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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(WSCR) You can call LeBron James a lot of things.

An NBA Champion? Sure. A Finals MVP? No problem. A league MVP? Absolutely.

But can you call him the best basketball player of all time?

Miami Heat team president Pat Riley seems to think so.

In the feature piece that accompanied James’ inauguration as SI’s 2012 Sportsman of the Year, Riley is quoted as calling James ‘B.O.A.T.’ – for the ‘best of all time.’

“Pat Riley stood in the mouth of the tunnel at Boston’s TD Garden (before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals), between the court and the locker room, and waited for the Boat,” SI’s Lee Jenkins wrote. “That’s what he calls LeBron James — ‘You know,’ Riley explains, ‘best of all time’ — an acronym he conjured to remind the planet’s preeminent basketball player of frontiers still to be conquered. ‘Hey, Boat,’ Riley will say. ‘How is the Boat doing today?’ James will reflexively laugh and shake his head because he is not the Boat, at least not yet.