Spoelstra: Race not a hindrance to be NBA coach-A A +A
Thursday, August 2, 2012
MANILA (Updated 4:01 p.m.) -- For Erik Spoelstra, heritage should hardly be a factor in determining one's worth as coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA), arguably the world's most renowned professional league.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Spoelstra said it is about experience and what you can bring to the table.
It took four years for him to win the coveted Larry 'O Brien trophy as coach of the Miami Heat and the championship came two years after signing up superstars Lebron James and Chris Bosh.
The Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA finals last June, making Spoelstra the first mentor of Asian heritage to win a title in any of North America's four major sports leagues.
Besides dedicating the victory to basketball-crazy Filipinos, he also thanked his mother for supporting him all the way in his career.
"She just cried," he recalled about his mother Elisa Celino who watched the game at their house in Portland, Oregon.
Spoelstra, who visited the Philippines five times since he was a kid, was born to a Dutch-Irish-American father and Filipina mother from San Pablo, Laguna.
The 42-year-old said nothing has changed since he steered the Heat to their second championship since 2006.
"I wanted to make sure that I continue to do similar things before I won the championship. The competition and being part of the team, that's why we're all in this. It's not for the recognition and the celebrity," he said.
He will be in the country until August 6 as he is set to conduct basketball clinics and interactive viewing party for the NBA fans this weekend.
The iconic trophy was also shown during the 30-minute briefing. The two-foot gold plated trophy made of sterling silver and other metals is given to NBA champions since 1984.
"I'm excited to spend time with the trophy here with our fans," Spoelstra said. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)