Erik Spoelstra Says the Sacrifice the Heat Players Have Made Is “One of the Most Untold Stories in Sports”

March 11, 2013 – 10:00 am by Chris Fedor

The Miami Heat are on some kind of run right now. Dwyane Wade looks like he has found the fountain of youth and LeBron James is playing at a level that isn’t often seen in the NBA. The defending champs’ winning streak is now at 18 games after they smacked around the Indiana Pacers yesterday. The Heat have shown no signs of slowing down and it’s going to a take a monumental effort from the opponent to cool Miami off. The Heat are having fun while doing it as well. They recently took time out before practice to record one of the most fun and entertaining videos of the Harlem Shake out there. It has created quite the buzz on YouTube. Why shouldn’t they have fun though? The NBA season is a grind. They are clearly the best team in the NBA and they enjoy playing with each other. It’s that kind of chemistry combined with a crazy amount of talent that has them eyeing their second straight NBA title. Just sit back and enjoy. This kind of run doesn’t happen very often.

Erik Spoelstra joined 790 the Ticket with Hoch and Zaslow to talk about whether this is the most fun he has had coaching, on the sacrifices the players have made to play in Miami, if it’s hard for him to manage all the depth on the roster and whether he was asked to participate in the Harlem Shake video.

If this is the most fun he has had coaching:

“I don’t know. I don’t know if you ever get to a point coaching where you can relax or you feel like you have any kind of control but this group enjoys each other. I think any team that LeBron James is on, he brings that type of camaraderie. He’s such a magnetic personality. Last year’s team was similar, even under the pressure we had. I think it’s another year where the guys have become much more comfortable with each other, know each other’s families and have spent so much time around each other. I don’t know if that necessarily translates to anything on the court, but it sure makes it a lot better when we are coming to work and seeing each other every day.”

On the sacrifices made by the players on the Heat to play together:

“I think it is one of the most untold stories in pro sports is the fact that you’ve gotten this group of professional athletes in their prime to make all the sacrifices that they have. Every one wanted to make it about every other storyline but the fact of the matter is most of the guys sacrificed money. However much it was, they sacrificed to be a part of this. They sacrificed the other opportunities they had on other franchises and we wanted to put together a group of guys that fit well on the court but also off the court fit our culture. We spent  a lot of time researching and recruiting the type of people we wanted. It’s a competitive group but also a group that knows how to keep it light through the long grind of the NBA season.”

If it’s hard to manage all the depth and leave some players on the bench:

“There’s no question that it is a challenge. 80 percent of this position, coaching in pro sports, is managing all the personalities and getting everyone to buy into the same goal and get everybody on the same page. It is tough. We communicated a lot about everybody’s roles and it is unique to have this many veteran players so we wanted to make sure in the offseason that everybody knew what they were signing up for. The group we have only want to be a part of something special. They all had opportunities to be a part of other teams that didn’t necessarily have significance, but we do have a lot of depth and it does make it tough. We win a title last year and then we add a Hall-Of-Famer to positions where we are probably the deepest, in Ray Allen. Then we add Rashard Lewis who is an All-Star and plays a similar position so it makes it tough. If you don’t have guys that have the proper perspective or maturity or professionalism then that can turn into a negative thing. But take a guy like Mike (Miller) who would be playing in anybody else’s rotation or if we didn’t add Ray or Rashard, he would still be in the rotation. Same thing with JJ (James Jones) and Joel (Anthony), those guys will stay ready and will have opportunities and big moments. The most important thing is that we’re playing for a world championship and in order to that you have to get guys willing to sacrifice.”

Were you asked to participate in the Harlem Shake video?

“They just informed me that there would be a lot of noise outside my office and that they would be filming something in the locker room. My office is adjacent and right outside the locker room so they gave me a heads up that they were starting a little bit of a ruckus while I was trying to concentrate on practice.”

Listen to Erik Spoelstra on 790 the Ticket here (Audio begins 13:00 into the podcast)

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