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Erik Spoelstra opens up on Rick Adelman's influence

Steve Angeles | TFC News Colorado

Posted at Jun 07 2023 10:41 PM

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While there's plenty of action on the basketball court during the NBA finals series, some of the best and brightest in the league are also honored during this time of the year.

Among the honorees include the hall of famer coach Rick Adelman, who received the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award from the NBA Coaches Association prior to Game 2 in Denver.

"It was amazing, the groups that I had," said Adelman. "Anybody who coached in the NBA knows that you have a great chance of success when you have really good players."

Adelman, a former player, began his coaching career with the Portland Trailblazers, the hometown team of Erik Spoelstra.

Spoelstra had close ties to the Adelman family growing up, and he said this played a role in him becoming a head coach.

"He's probably had as much of an impact and inspiration for me to get into coaching as anybody," Spoelstra said. "I feel like I grew up in the Adelmans' household. R.J. and I were very close."

Spoelstra, whose team returned to the NBA finals this year, added: "He was the biggest inspiration, and even to this day, I've just always admired the teams that he's coached, the way they competed."

Adelman sits at the 10th place in all-time coaching wins with 1,042.

He said he takes pride in knowing his style helped turn the NBA into a faster paced league, and in seeing Spoelstra succeed in his coaching career.

"Watching Erik, the way he's grown, Pat (Riley) took a great chance to give him the job, and he's proven himself," Adelman said.

With the Denver Nuggets and the Heat facing each other in the playoffs, the newly minted Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award recipient has plenty of ties to both teams.

Adelman's son David is an assistant with the Nuggets. And while he may have inspired Spoelstra, Adelman also coached the current Heat players Kevin Love and Kyle Lowry.

"When you see guys like Kyle and Kevin, you just think back to all the good times you've had," he added. "I think that's probably the biggest part these awards do. They give you a chance to see everything."