After the Miami Heat beat the Orlando Magic 115-91 on Sunday (Monday, Manila time) to level its record at .500, those same 3 digits simultaneously held a significant meaning for Erik Spoelstra.
The Heat head coach became the 32nd head coach in NBA history to notch 500 wins, a milestone that has “humbled” Spoelstra.
“It doesn’t even register as real to me right now. That’s why I’m just always so grateful for the Arison family and Pat (Riley) for giving me this opportunity. Pat has been a great mentor to me all these years,” the coach said in an article posted on the Miami Herald website.
Spoelstra has been with the Heat organization since 1997, and is in his 11th season as the team’s head coach.
He won two championships with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in 2012 and 2013, and when James left and Wade started to decline Miami remained competitive in the Eastern Conference, although far from being title contenders.
“There have been a lot of low points, a lot of really incredible moments. But you don’t get to survive those low points if you don’t have great stability and belief of people above you,” Spoelstra said.
Meanwhile, he is excited to celebrate Christmas with wife Nikki and their son, Santiago, their first as a family.
“Really excited,” Spoelstra said of his first Christmas as a father.
“My whole family will be here. It’s like a family joke. My mom used to come out here once every one or two years. But since [Santiago] has been born, she’s on her fourth trip already. It’s like ‘Oh, it took us to have a grandson for you to come and visit lovely Miami.’ “
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