Erik Spoelstra, the head coach of the Miami Heat, has broken into the top 20 of the NBA’s all-time coaching wins list.
According to Sports Illustrated, Spoelstra moved up to no. 20 after the Heat’s 119-115 win over the Utah Jazz. The victory marked the Filipino American’s 697th win.
Spoelstra began working as an assistant coach for the Heat in 1997. He was named head coach in 2008 and has held the role ever since. He won two NBA championships with the team in 2012 and 2013.
Many fans and armchair experts have credited Spoelstra’s success to the talented rosters he has coached. The championship-winning team featured players like Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosch. But coaches and players in the league have defended Spoelstra’s coaching ability.
“There’s this narrative that Spo is not great, and the narrative that he doesn’t get a lot of respect, which he should,” James said in 2020 interview with USA Today. “He prepares his team every single night. If you watch the Miami Heat, no matter who’s on the floor, they’re going to play Heat culture. They’re going to play hard. They’re going to play together. That’s what he’s always been about.”
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