As accomplished as former NBA head coach Pat Riley is—and with five championship rings to his name, he’s pretty accomplished—his motivational techniques are arguably even more famous.
In the 2006 NBA Finals, Riley’s Miami Heat were down 2-0 to the Dallas Mavericks, but they stormed back to win three straight games in Miami to take a 3-2 series lead. As they headed back to Dallas for Game 6, Riley told his team he’d be packing “one suit, one shirt, one tie,” since he believed the Heat would win the next game and close out the series. They then proceeded to do just that.
RELATED: How the Golden State Warriors Thrive on Team Motivation
That same year, Riley poured thousands of pieces of paper into a bowl in the middle of the Heat locker room, each with the words “15 strong” on one side and photos of Heat players, their families or the Larry O’Brien trophy on the other. It sat there throughout the entire 2006 playoffs, covered with a cloth to hide its contents whenever media were allowed in the room.
Now, thanks to Shaquille O’Neal, who played center for that 2006 championship team, we’ve discovered Riley’s strangest motivational technique.
When the Heat were down 0-2 in those Finals, Riley walked into the locker room and stuck his head into a bucket of ice for three minutes to inspire his players to believe they could come back. It worked, we guess, since Riley thought his head wouldn’t completely freeze and he’d become a frozen statue in the Heat locker room for all eternity—and it didn’t.
Perhaps the Cleveland Cavaliers, currently down 0-2 in the 2016 Finals against the Golden State Warriors, should ask their head coach Tyronn Lue to cryogenically freeze himself for the remainder of the series.