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‘SPOELSTRA ONE OF THE GREATS’ — PBA PARTY-LIST

The Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list on Thursday lauded Filipino-American and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra for his inclusion in the 15 greatest coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

“We have always considered Coach Erik as one of the greats, but to be officially recognized by his fellow coaches in the NBA no less is truly a rare honor reserved only for the best of the best. He deserves all the recognition and praise, and we congratulate him on yet another feather in his cap,” PBA Party-list spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.

Spoelstra previously made NBA history twice — by becoming the first Asian-American to be a head coach of the NBA and by winning a championship.

“For as long as we can remember, we Filipinos have always had a love affair with basketball. In fact, basketball is so ingrained in Filipino culture that we see basketball courts in almost if not all barangays in the country. May Coach Erik continue to serve as inspiration to all the Filipinos dreaming of making it to the NBA. We are proud to call him ‘kababayan,’” she added.

The NBA released the list as part of the league’s celebration of its 75th anniversary season. It was compiled based upon unranked selection undertaken exclusively by a panel of 43 current and former NBA coaches in collaboration with the National Basketball Coaches Association.

According to the NBA, the 15 honorees have collectively won more than 14,000 regular-season games, guided teams to 45 NBA championships, and earned 16 NBA Coach of the Year awards across more than 300 head coaching seasons.

Spoelstra previously made NBA history twice — by becoming the first Asian-American to be a head coach of the NBA and by winning a championship. He now becomes the first Asian-American to be included in the roster of the greatest coaches in NBA history.

He is one of the two most notable figures of Filipino descent in the NBA, the other one being Jordan Clarkson, who currently plays for the Utah Jazz. 

Before becoming head coach of the Miami Heat, Spoelstra served as assistant coach and director of scouting for the Heat from 2001 to 2008, during which time the team won the 2006 NBA Finals. He was promoted to head coach in the 2008-09 season.

Under Spoelstra, the Heat made four consecutive NBA Finals appearances in 2011–2014 winning the championship in 2012 and 2013. Spoelstra made his fifth appearance in the NBA Finals as head coach in 2020.

He is one of the two most notable figures of Filipino descent in the NBA, the other one being Jordan Clarkson, who currently plays for the Utah Jazz.

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