Here’s the Miami Herald reporting what Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had to say to Ernie Johnson via the NBA’s Twitter feed:
Spoelstra addressed other topics in a wide-ranging interview with Johnson:
▪ He said this week marks his 25th anniversary with the Heat after joining the team as an intern to help with the 1995 draft.
Pat Riley was hired as Heat coach and president that summer and Spoelstra said “the only reason I survived that turnover was it was September, and they just needed somebody to cut tape” and didn’t want to train someone from the outside.
“I had a one-year leeway to prove myself,” he said. “Twenty-five years later, they haven’t found a way to get rid of me.”
▪ How did Riley tell him he was being promoted to head coach in 2008?
“It would be like you imagined, a Godfather scene,” Spoelstra said. “He brought me in on a Saturday, after we won 15 games. … The lights were down. I sat on the other side of the desk. I could barely make out his face; he could see me.
“He said, ‘I’m done. You’re ready for it. This will be like you’re in a bird’s nest and I’m going to push you off the branch and you are going to have to figure out how to fly. You have enough experience, you’ve worked for great people. This is happening. Take a couple days to get your S-H-I-T together and Monday is the press conference.’”
Spoelstra’s story is pretty fantastic. His rise up the Heat ranks would make a great documentary.