MIAMI (AP) — Erik Spoelstra nonetheless vividly remembers getting a brief speech from his father, a sage piece of recommendation that got here a couple of yr into his time within the make use of of the Miami Warmth.

“Do not screw it up,” Jon Spoelstra stated.

Virtually 25 years later, the mantra nonetheless applies.

Erik Spoelstra coached his 850th recreation for the Warmth on Wednesday night time, passing staff president and Corridor of Fame coach Pat Riley for probably the most in franchise historical past. Spoelstra is barely the 13th individual to teach at the very least 850 video games with one NBA franchise; it is occurred 14 occasions total, with Don Nelson reaching that threshold with each Milwaukee and Golden State throughout his profession.

“My dad had been fired from a few totally different locations and he knew the true NBA,” Spoelstra stated. “He was saying it virtually as such an exaggeration … simply discover a option to hold on with this man, this Corridor of Famer. And I assume the lesson to that’s, I am nonetheless simply making an attempt to hold on, making an attempt to work for him for so long as I probably can.”

New Orleans’ Alvin Gentry will coach his 1,000th profession recreation Thursday when the Pelicans go to Oklahoma Metropolis, making him the 31st NBA coach to hit that milestone. Except both Scott Skiles or Stan Van Gundy returns to an NBA sideline beforehand — they’ve coached 958 and 907 video games, respectively — Spoelstra could possibly be the following coach to affix the 1,000-game membership, someday across the midpoint of the 2020-21 season.

Warmth guard Dwyane Wade has spent just about his total profession round Spoelstra, who was an assistant beneath Riley till transferring into the highest spot for the 2008-09 season. Meaning he is heard nearly each quote Spoelstra has to supply over and again and again, strains about “id” and “competitors” and insisting that in any circumstance “we’ve got sufficient.”

It took Wade a very long time to grasp why Spoelstra’s message hardly ever deviates from one yr to the following.

“He is constant,” Wade stated. “For those who’re a mum or dad, you perceive that my youngsters want consistency from me and my spouse. They want routines, they want all these items. It is the identical factor. It is a huge day care that he has in that locker room and he is constant together with his message and the way we do issues.”

Amongst coaches with at the very least 10 years on the job, Spoelstra’s profitable proportion — .595 — is eighth-best in NBA historical past. By the point this season ends, he must be within the prime 30 for all-time wins. And he is solely 48, that means his profession may nonetheless have many, many extra years left for him so as to add to his legacy.

Plus, he realizes how lucky he’s to be in a spot like Miami, the place the management group led by Riley and managing basic accomplice Micky Arison values stability. Amongst present NBA coaches, solely San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich has been in his job longer than Spoelstra — who has seen 122 teaching modifications within the league since Riley promoted him to the highest spot on Miami’s employees.

“This teaching occupation is extraordinarily dynamic,” Spoelstra stated. “It is complicated and I am very grateful to have this chance with such an unbelievable group. You do not have it in professional sports activities. That is why I attempt to do my highest and attempt to develop and get higher and reinvent yearly as a result of I do not wish to allow them to down.”

Meaning he is nonetheless listening to his dad’s suggestion, all these years later.


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