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Miami Heat Erik Spoelstra Usa BAsketball Fiba World Cup

Miami Heat Filipino-American coach Erik Spoelstra during a basketball clinic conducted by USA Basketball. –ARNEL TACSON/

MANILA, Philippines—Before being one of the most well-renowned coaches in the game of basketball, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had a particular dream in mind: to play in the PBA.

After mentoring young Filipino basketball aspirants during a clinic hosted by USA Basketball Wednesday morning, Spoelstra spared a few of his time to answer questions from the media.

Surprisingly, the Team USA assistant coach revealed one of his earliest dreams in the sport.

“Obviously growing up, my goal initially was to play in the PBA. That was always a dream of mine,” bared Spoelstra, whose mother is from Laguna.

“My family would send VHS tapes of PBA games and I just saw how crazy the crowds were and I thought, ‘wow, I want to do that.’”

Unfortunately, Spoelstra wasn’t able to play in the PBA, or even the NBA, for that matter. That, however, was just the prelude to what would ultimately be his biggest contribution to the sport of basketball.

Filipino-American NBA coach Erik Spoelstra: “Growing up, my goal, initially was to play in the PBA.” | Rommel Fuertes/Inquirer Sports #FIBAWC

Posted by Inquirer Sports on Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Without having played professional basketball in the Philippines, Spoelstra bounced left and right until he found his way to the Miami Heat, and the rest, as they say, was history.

“That was always a part of my plan. I ended up playing overseas for only a couple years and eventually tried to play here and then I got re-routed with Miami.”

The Miami household name ended up with two NBA titles with the Heat as a coach while also being named as a Top 15 Coach in the professional league.

His passion for playing inside the court turned into a desire to teach the future talents of the hardwood over time.

And it all started with his visits to his home soil.

“Once we started going here with the NBA and doing camps and clinics, that’s where I really wanted to be more involved in, the grassroots level,” Spoelstra explained.

The Filipino-American tactician can add more to his accolades if he wins the World Cup with Team USA as an assistant coach to Golden State’s Steve Kerr.

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By Sandra Winters

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