MANILA, Philippines – NBA superstar LeBron James and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra have come a long way since the “King” decided to take his talents to South Beach during his 2010 free agency.
Together with All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, James came to the Heat to win multiple championships, but their era got off to a rocky start when they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Finals.
But since then, they have gone on one of the most dominant runs in the NBA. They won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013, with James winning two more Most Valuable Player awards to raise his total to four.
“I think the biggest thing we’ve grown in is just trust,” James said about his relationship with Spoelstra. “We both trust each other.”
“Being around each other every day the last three years and going through the hardships – getting to the finals, losing the finals and then getting into the finals and winning it,” he added.
“You know, every day you start to gain more and more trust with someone you deal with every day. I think that’s the most important thing for us, for a coach-player relationship. It’s just trust. Once we started to trust each other, the team started to improve,” he said.
The James-Spoelstra relationship had its speed bumps: in November 2010, James bumped Spoelstra on the shoulder on the way back to the Miami bench, and some took it as an indication that there were problems between the two.
But now, James is all praises for Spoelstra, whom he believes does not get enough credit for how he has managed the Heat.
“He doesn’t care about it all,” James said. “All he cares about is winning. And I’m the same way. All I care about is winning.”
“That’s what’s about our team, you know. A lot of our guys, they don’t get the credit they deserve, and they really don’t care about that,” he stressed. “All they care about is winning, and it starts with Spo and it trickles down to everyone else.”
James, who visited Manila for the first time this week as part of his “Witness History” tour, said he is not yet satisfied despite a glittering resume that includes four MVPs, two NBA championships and two Finals MVPs.
“I just want to be the greatest of all time,” he said. “I don’t know what my ceiling is, and I hope I never get there.”