When Miami Heat‘s head coach Erik Spoelstra was named as the head coach for Team Durant for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, it was a well-deserved honor since his team currently sits in first place in the Eastern Conference.
However, it also meant that instead of spending a week off with his family in sunny Miami, Coach Spo would be spending his vacation working hard in snowy Cleveland, Ohio. Much like what Spoelstra did last summer when helping out Team USA before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the 51-year-old turned this opportunity into a family affair, inviting his wife and children to join him in Ohio.
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Spoelstra 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.
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.
This Is Spoelstra’s Second Time Serving as an All-Star Coach
This is the second time in Spoelstra’s career that he’s coached the All-Star team, as he was first given the honor in 2013. But back then, Spoelstra was not yet married, nor did he have any children. Now, Santiago and Dante are honorary members of Team Durant.
“I don’t want to let these moments pass,” Spoelstra said on Saturday afternoon, per Miami Herald‘s Anthony Chiang. “This is a big part of my family’s life is our business. The life of a coach for a family is not the easiest career. The travel, pressure, criticism, all of the above. Our kids are young, so as much as we possibly can, we want them to be a part of this world. As you can see them running around at half court, it’s quite different than my All-Star experience nine years ago.”
Only 1 Heat Playing was Selected for the 2022 All-Star Game
While one would assume that the No.1 team in the Eastern Conference would have numerous players selected for the All-Star Game, the only player to get the nod was Heat wing, Jimmy Butler.
Because Butler, 32, was selected to be on Team LeBron, the six-time All-Star will be playing against Spoelstra’s team. Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams is leading Team LeBron.
“I’m glad I get to be with a real coach like coach Monty Williams,” Butler said with a laugh of going up against Spoelstra. “It’s going to be fun. I’m going to talk some trash to him and I can’t get in trouble for it because he is the enemy for at least this weekend. So I’ll definitely take advantage of that.”
As for Spoelstra, he joked that he’s going “to throw the kitchen sink” at Butler with “box and one, triangle and two, full-court press and some things that I probably can’t even think of right now.”