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LeBron James: Hurtful parting words after leaving Miami served as motivation

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LeBron James said that some people he "trusted" told him that he made the biggest mistake of his career when he left the Miami Heat.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Here we go again in the cryptic saga of the relationship between LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

After winning his third NBA title Sunday night -- and first as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers -- James revealed what gave him some secret motivation to win another championship. And it seems that with Pat Riley, no love is lost between these two basketball legends.

"When I decided to leave Miami -- I'm not going to name any names, I can't do that -- but there were some people that I trusted and built relationships with in those four years [who] told me I was making the biggest mistake of my career," James told ESPN. "And that s--- hurt me. And I know it was an emotional time that they told me that because I was leaving. They just told me it was the biggest mistake I was making in my career. And that right there was my motivation."

After the Miami Heat lost the 2014 NBA Finals series to the San Antonio Spurs, Riley implored LeBron James to stay "if you got the guts" and to avoid finding the first door and running out of it.

When James returned to Miami to play in the NBA's marquee Christmas Day match-up during the 2014-15 season, Riley sat in his chair and did not applaud during the Heat's tribute video to James. (The Heat President did stand up and applaud during the tribute video for seldom-used 3-point specialist James Jones, though.) Riley also made what many interpreted as a thinly-veiled reference to James before the NBA Draft last year.

Although Micky Arison, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all congratulated James on his third title, one can only wonder how Riley feels now.