Filipino-American Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, who holds the distinction of being the first Asian American head coach not only in the NBA but in the history of all the four major American sports leagues, has lead his Miami Heat to repeat as the NBA Champions with a 95-88 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Despite the fact that he is one of the youngest of the NBA coaches, Coach Spo is actually the third longest-tenured at his position – behind only the Boston Celtic’s Doc Rivers and his NBA Finals 2013 adversary, Gregg Popovich of the Spurs.
Already famous for having been hand-picked and groomed by NBA legend Pat Riley, Spoelstra made a name for himself by successfully leading the “Three Kings” or the “Big Three” of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh to the NBA finals in each of their first three seasons together – winning it all the last two seasons.
Although San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich has served as the Spurs head coach for more than 16 seasons, coaching the most games and winning the most games among active coaches with their current team, Coach Spo has generally outcoached him in this series and have made him have to react to his moves.
It’s important to note that only 12 NBA coaches have won multiple championships. Seven of them have already been enshrined into the Hall of Fame home and an eighth, the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, is a lock to get there. With his second championship in three consecutive NBA Finals visits, Coach Spoelstra certainly appears to be on the fast track to joining them!
*Photo by John Salangsang.