Filipino-American coach Erik Spoelstra was among the NBA’s 15 all-time greatest coaches, the league revealed Tuesday, Feb. 8.
Four current coaches, including Spoelstra of the Miami Heat, Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors, Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, and Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers, made it into the list as 30 current NBA coaches and a couple of former tacticians were composed of the selection panel.
In no particular order, completing the list are Red Auerbach, Chuck Daly, Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Lenny Wilkens, Larry Brown, Red Holzman, K.C Jones, Don Nelson, Jack Ramsay, Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, and Jerry Sloan.
Spoelstra, a two-time NBA champion coach, has been calling the shots for the Heat since 2008.
Spoelstra earned back-to-back NBA titles as head coach in 2012 and 2013 during Miami’s Big 3 era which consists of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
He was Miami’s assistant coach from 1997 to 2008 and help guide the Heat to another championship in 2006, where Wade also bagged the Finals Most Valuable Player honor.
In the 2019-20 season, the 51-year-old Fil-Am coach led the Heat to their first finals appearance in six years through Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, among others but Miami suffered yet another heartbreaker against James and the Los Angeles Lakers in their Game 6.
Wade, during the NBA on TNT show, lauded his former coach and said Spoelstra “improved” on being the standard as a basketball mentor.
“I always say Pat Riley set the standard but coach Spo improved on it,” said Wade.
“And you really see his DNA inside the organization. It’s not just Pat Riley show, it’s Erik Spoelstra. I’m just so proud of him because he’s so consistent, he’s doing it every day. I’m proud of him,” added the three-time NBA champion.