Erik Spoelstra has been through it all in his time in the NBA. From video assistant to coach of a super team, Spoelstra has seen plenty of peaks and valleys on an NBA bench. Sunday was a reminder of how much the game means to the long-tenured Miami coach.
As is customary with interviews following championship losses, Spoelstra was moved to tears, collecting himself for roughly 30 seconds before fielding questions from media following the Heat’s 106-93 series-ending loss to the Lakers in the NBA Finals.
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The Heat certainly gave the Lakers a fight in the series, though Game 6 was a complete blowout and wasn’t nearly as close as the score dictates.
While a Finals defeat sucks, Coach “Spo” has nothing to feel bad about. Already considered one of the upper-echelon coaches in the game, he pushed his injury-riddled Heat squad to six games with a team that steamrolled through the NBA bubble. There’s no shame there. After all, Spoelstra has three rings to his name — one as an assistant and two as a head coach — so getting back to the top should be a moment of pride for him.
Spoelstra spent the majority of his presser praising his team and the toughness of the players, including Goran Dragic, who texted Spoelstra at 4 a.m., begging for an opportunity to play amidst injury.
Still, you can understand Spoelstra’s devastation: months inside a bubble, away from normal life, coming so close to the mountaintop before tumbling off. Should the NBA get back to a little semblance of normalcy in 2021, then Spoelstra might shed some more tears — maybe tears of joy should the Heat push for the NBA Finals again.
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