The Miami Heat‘s head coach Erik Spoelstra is one of the most respected coaches in the NBA, and there was an outpouring of concern when the team announced he’d be unavailable to coach Saturday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
The Heat’s official Twitter account announced just hours before tipoff, “Head Coach Erik Spoelstra (personal reasons) will not be in attendance for tonight’s game vs Brooklyn. Chris Quinn will lead the team in his place.”
Per Sun Senintel‘s Ira Winderman, “Spoelstra is away from the team due to a medical procedure for one of his two sons.”
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Spoelstra, 51, and his wife, Nikki Sapp Spoelstra, a former dancer for the Heat, married in 2016. Their eldest son, Santiago, was born in March 2018. Dante, their second son, was born in December 2019.
Following the report that one of Spoelstra’s son was ill, Twitter filled with well wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery. “Hope they end up okay man🙏🏽,” a Heat fan account tweeted, ” while another person wrote, “Awww prayers to coach spo and his son 🙏🙏.”
Spoelstra Brought His Wife & 2 Kids to the 2022 All-Star Game
Much like what Spoelstra did last summer when helping out Team USA before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when Spoelstra was named as the head coach of Team Durant for the 2022 All-Star game, he turned this opportunity into a family affair, inviting his wife and children to join him in Ohio.
On February 19, while Spoelstra was leading practice for the All-Star game, his two boys ran out onto the court to play with their father. This heartwarming moment was captured on camera and the official Heat page posted the photo on both Instagram and Twitter. Within hours, the Spoelstra family picture racked up over 40,000 likes.
Mrs. Spoelstra also shared the viral photos on her Instagram stories, including a video of the moment the snaps were originally taken. In the background, viewers can see All-Star player, Sixers’ Joel Embiid, practicing his three-point shots.
When it Comes to Heat Culture, Family Comes First Over Basketball
In Heat Culture, winning is everything unless it comes to family. There are things greater than basketball, and in Miami, family always comes first. While Spoelstra’s absence comes at a precarious time, the Heat are coming off a particularly rough three-game losing streak, there’s no doubt Spoelstra has the full support of his players and staff.
Backe in February, when All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry missed 10 consecutive games due to personal reasons, Spoelstra had his back.
“We understand all the things that we’re missing,” Spoelstra said. “But this is bigger than that. We stay connected. I communicate with him every day and everybody else, as well. He’s a part of our family now and we just want to be there for him. The basketball stuff, we can work that all out.”
All-Star Jimmy Butler’s comments on Lowry’s absences mirrored Spoelstra’s message.
“I think it’s always really important to realize basketball is second, third, if not around that area on people’s list of importance,” Butler said. “You always got to make sure the family is good, yourself is good. It just feels good to know that we got guys that can step in and do what Kyle does for us. But I miss him, we all miss him. We want him and his family to be okay.”
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