No, this wasn’t a fictitious scene from Winning Time. Miami Heat president Pat Riley actually sat at his press conference and challenged reporters to a push-up contest. He didn’t get any immediate takers inside the media room, but about 1,400 miles north in Bristol, CT, SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi eagerly accepted.
Riley has been president of the Heat since 1995. And in case you had any concerns about the 77-year-old Hall-of-Famer’s ability to keep operating at a high level, Riley made sure to brag about his physical stamina. He “runs it back” with his wife every week, and he can do more push-ups than you.
"I'm 77 years old, and right now I can do more push-ups than you can do right now. You wanna go to the mat, let's go."
Pat Riley ? pic.twitter.com/bXtkr0k37T
— ??? ???????? ???? (@sportingnews) June 6, 2022
“I’m 77 years old, and right now I can do more push-ups than you can do right now,” Riley boasted, responding to a retirement question from Heat beat writer Ira Winderman. “You wanna go to the mat, let’s go.”
Winderman didn’t accept, adding, “no one needs to see that.” No one else in the room was willing to take the 77-year-old up on his challenge either. But while anchoring SportsCenter a few hours later, Negandhi confidently said he has 15 push-ups in him while wearing a suit.
“Yeah? Full push-ups?” co-anchor Elle Duncan asked with surprise. “Real ones?”
It was how @elleduncanESPN said, “real ones”? When you hear that tone… challenge accepted. pic.twitter.com/shIqVcCQ46
— Kevin Negandhi (@KevinNegandhi) June 7, 2022
As if the challenge from Riley wasn’t enough, Duncan’s apparent disbelief that Negandhi could do “real” push-ups drove the SportsCenter anchor onto the desk. With ease, Negandhi completed his 15 push-ups on camera, while wearing a suit, and they were solid. Definitely worthy of the “real ones” category.
I kind of feel like we need to see Riley drop to the mat now. He never put a number on it, but the former Lakers, Knicks and Heat head coach seemed very confident in his physical ability. And while I don’t believe push-up prowess is any indication of a person’s ability to build a championship basketball team, Riley’s presence is one Miami should look to keep for as long as he’s willing to stay there.