More honors for history-making Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.
The NBA has named him among the 15 greatest coaches of all time just days after he was selected to his second All-Star Game. The Fil-Am coach is just one of four active coaches on the esteemed list, joining Greg Popovich, Steve Kerr, and Doc Rivers.
He boasts of a resume of 10 playoff appearances, five Finals, and two titles all in just 14 seasons, and with the Miami Heat's current 35 win and 20 loss record, the team has the top record in the East, giving Spoelstra the recognition of All-Star Game coach once again. He will be coaching Team Durant in the playground style exhibition.
"We are honored by it, and it's been a hard grind this season. I remember the beginning of December when we were back in the standings, that seemed like it was a little bit out of reach, the guys just continued to grind," Spoelstra said. "It will be another great memory for everybody involved. This is one of those examples where it literally is everybody pulling in the same direction. It’s the staff. It's the players. It's the support team, everybody. It is something special."
Spoelstra first coached at an NBA All-Star Game in 2013 during the Heat's Big 3 era. This year, he broke into the top 25 coaching wins list. He currently sits at 24th, with a record of 642 and 444.
He credits the group, which includes All-Star reserve Jimmy Butler for the team's continued success despite injuries and Covid-19 protocols. "We have a really good group in our locker room. They believe in the mission. It’s an extremely competitive group, a group that challenges each other, holds each other accountable, pushes each other to get to a higher level. We’re going to need a lot more of that. This is just one hurdle during the course of the season. It's all good when you have something to compete for."
Spoelstra won’t be the only Filipino taking part in the mid-season festivities.
Fil-Am rookie Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets will be playing in the Rising Stars Challenge mini tournament. He'll be playing for Team James Worthy, making him the second Fil-Am to be part of the shortlist of the league’s best rookies and sophomores after Jordan Clarkson made it in 2016.
He’ll also make history as the first Fil-Am to show off his high flying skills in the Slam Dunk contest.
The festivities kick off in Cleveland on February 18th.