Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra joins Adrian Wojnarowski for a visit on The Vertical Podcast with Woj.In a rare extended interview, Spoelstra goes into great detail on the Heat’s improbable regular season success, the Big Three era with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, his relationship with Pat Riley and why the idea of someday becoming a president/coach in the NBA intrigues him. Spoelstra talks about growing up in an NBA family in Portland, playing pro ball in Germany, and the fateful day that Hank Gathers died on the court against his University of Portland team.
3:28: The team’s resilience after an 11-30 start to the season and lessons from this year’s team.
9:05: The organization’s decision to not tank this year.
12:04: How the perception of Spoelstra differs from when he had the Big 3.
14:33: Learning from other coaches like Chip Kelly and Pete Carroll while maintaining the Heat’s culture.
18:33: David Fizdale’s success in his first-year as Grizzlies coach.
24:08: How his father’s career as a marketer exposed him to innovative thinking.
31:05: Growing up around NBA players and later recognizing his own limitations as a player.
36:48: Being on the court when Hank Gathers died on March 4, 1990.
43:00: His professional playing career in Germany and the expectations for an American player to be a big-time scorer.
49:09: His expectations when he started with the Heat in the video room.
57:23: The point Spoelstra realized he could become a head coach in the NBA.
1:00:41: The pressures of replacing Riley on the bench.
1:06:41: How Riley empowered him to help shape the team’s culture.
1:13:19: His first reaction when the Big 3 formed in Miami and the team’s first training camp together.
1:16:35: How Spoelstra’s relationship with Wade helped during the early days of the Big 3.
1:22:44: The intense scrutiny surrounding the team’s 9-8 start in 2010.
1:29:17: Losing in the 2011 Finals to the Mavericks following the emotional season.
1:34:16: Blocking out the criticism to enjoy the experience of coaching the Big 3.
1:43:16: Spoelstra’s ambition to eventually run an organization himself.