Spoelstra credits Rick Adelman's guidance, influence on his storied coaching career

Rom Anzures, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 07 2023 05:19 PM

Former NBA coach Rick Adelman and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. Justin Lane and Rhona Wise, EPA/EFE.
Former NBA coach Rick Adelman and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. Justin Lane and Rhona Wise, EPA/EFE.

Miami Heat head tactician Erik Spoelstra has had a lot of success over his lengthy storied coaching career, coming in as the squad's video coordinator in 1995 until moving up the ranks and taking the reign as the team's head coach in 2008.

He even led the squad to back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013, but the Filipino-American mentor looks up to another great coach that guided and influenced him in his journey, Rick Adelman.

"He's probably had as much of an impact and inspiration for me to get into coaching as anybody. I had never even thought about it before that," he said of Adelman, who was recently awarded with the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Basketball Coaches Association.

The Heat mentor bared that he grew up close with the Adelmans, and that experience introduced him to the thought of entering the realm of head coaching.

"I feel like I grew up in the Adelmans' household. R.J. and I were very close. All the kids were very close. Kathy and I went to college together. But that was the first time that I saw what NBA coaching was all about. When I saw his home office and then saw how he approached the game and saw that you could be very normal and humble and understated and still excel at coaching, I don't know, it just lit a spark in me, and I thought, wow, that's pretty cool. I never, ever thought about the coaching profession before," he bared.

Adelman is 10th all-time in coaching wins with 1,042 victories, having held the top coaching position in the Portland Trailblazers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, and Minnesota Timberwolves. He is also an inductee in the 2021 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Adelman said that he is proud of Spoelstra who, in turn, has carved his own legendary career.

"Watching Erik, the way he's grown. [Miami Heat president] Pat [Riley] took a great chance to give him the job, and he's proven himself, too," he said.

Spoelstra's current finals matchup with the Denver Nuggets even holds a special place in Adelman's heart not only because of his mentee, but his son, David, is an assistant coach with the Nuggets. Heat veterans Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love also played under him previously. 

This is why Adelman said that more than receiving the award, it is seeing once again the people who he holds closest that makes it more special.

"When you see guys like Kyle and Kevin, you just think back to all the good times you've had. I think that's probably the biggest part these awards do, is they give you a chance to see everything. Hall of Fame, my whole family got to go there. I owe all those people. So that's special."

Game 3 of the NBA Finals is set on Thursday morning (Manila time), as the series shifts to the Kaseya Center in Miami.

-- With a report from Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News


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