Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, NBA Playoffs

LeBron James shows love to former coach Erik Spoelstra ahead of NBA Finals

LeBron James had a lot of good things to say about Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra had a part to play in delivering two championships to the franchise on the strength of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, but he was very rarely put in the upper tier of coaches in the league due to the talent on the roster. Now that Spoelstra helped Jimmy Butler and the Heat scrap out an improbable run to the NBA Finals, former Spoelstra pupil and current Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is hoping the media finally puts some respect on his name.

James praised Spoelstra and the Heat’s style of play, singling out their tenacity and hustle. James also took the time out to make mention of Spoelstra’s exceptional coaching acumen, hoping that this playoff run has finally extinguished the notion that he was along for the ride during the Big Three years and confirmed that he is an elite coach.

Erik Spoelstra deserved a lot of credit for how he’s helped vaunt Miami to the Finals five times

An assistant with the Heat from 1999 to 2008 and a member of the coaching staff who took down the Dallas Mavericks to win the 2006 NBA title, Spoelstra was named head coach in 2008. Under Spoelstra, the Heat have only had two losing seasons and have made the Finals five times, winning it twice. Given the amount of turnover over the last few years in Miami, their success is a credit to Spoelstra’s innovation on both sides of the ball.

Yes, having James, Wade, and Bosh helped him win games. However, this team had tactical issues and egos galore in those seasons, and Spoelstra helped keep them together as he landed James his first two championships.

With his fifth finals appearance as a head coach putting him in rarefied air, Spoelstra is finally starting to get recognized as a Hall of Fame coach.

Next: LeBron’s enduring brilliance

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