Erik Spoelstra is a basketball coach described by many as one of the brightest in the NBA. The Asian-American rose through the ranks at the Miami Heat, first serving as an assistant coach before becoming the director of scouting and then head coach in 2008. Spoelstra has since that time held the position, winning two NBA championships in 2012 and 2013 and being named NBCA Co-Coach of the Year in 2017.
Biography Summary of Erik Spoelstra
- Full Name: Erik Jon Spoelstra
- Date of Birth: November 1, 1970
- Age: 51 as of 2022
- Place of Birth: Evanston, Illinois
- Ethnicity: Asian-American (Filipino descent)
- Nationality: American
- Height: 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m)
- Profession: Basketball Coach
- Teams Coached: Miami Heat
- Marital Status: Married
- Erik Spoelstra’s Wife: Nikki Sapp (m. 2016)
- Children: Two Sons
- Erik Spoelstra Parents: Elisa Celino and Jon Spoelstra
Erik Spoelstra is an Asian-American of Filipino Descent
Erik Spoelstra is of multiple ethnicities. His father Jon Spoelstra is a Dutch-Irish-American man while his mother Elisa Celino is Filipino. He is a trendsetter for the Asian American community in sports as he is the first Asian-American head coach in the history of the four major North American sports leagues (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL). Spoelstra went on to set very high standards by becoming the first Asian-American head coach to win an NBA championship.
He Earns a Base Salary of $8.5 million
Erik Spoelstra is one of the better-paid coaches in the NBA with an annual base salary in the region of $8.5 million. In addition to this, the Miami Heat coach reportedly earns various bonuses, including $120,000 per win. Before his recent contract, he was on a salary of $3 million.
While Spoelstra has a long way to go before catching up to the earning bracket of Gregg Popovich who is paid around $11.5 million per year, he appears to be on the right track with what he has achieved with the Heat so far.
Erik’s Father was an NBA Executive while His Grandfather was a Sportswriter
Erik Spoelstra is the son of Jon Spoelstra and Elisa Celino. His father was a former NBA executive for teams like the Portland Trailblazers and the New Jersey Nets. He would later go on to serve as president of Mandalay Sports Entertainment. Having published several books, Erik Jon Spoelstra is also an author and a sports marketer.
The basketball coach’s grandfather, Watson Spoelstra, was a long-time sportswriter for The Detroit News, spending 30 years at the publication before founding Baseball Chapel, a Christian ministry for professional baseball players. He also served as the president of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Spoelstra was Born in Illinois But Raised in New York and Oregon
Erik Spoelstra was born on November 1, 1970, in Evanston, Illinois. He spent some time in Buffalo, New York before moving to Portland, Oregon due to his father’s work.
The future NBA coach attended Jesuit High School in Beaverton, Oregon, where he began playing basketball as a point guard. Spoelstra had a considerable amount of talent that prompted a number of colleges to offer him a scholarship. He however chose to stay close to home and attend the University of Portland where he continued to excel. He graduated with a degree in communications in 1992.
His Career Began as a Player/Coach Overseas in Germany
After university in 1993, Erik Spoelstra moved to Germany where he was hired as a player/assistant coach at Germany Westphalia-based professional basketball club, TuS Herten. He spent two years with the team and also coached a local youth team.
Spoelstra’s work caught the attention of the Miami Heat and so in 1995 he was offered a position as a video coordinator. He held the position for two years before becoming an assistant coach/video coordinator. In 1999, Spoelstra was promoted to assistant coach/advance scout, a position he held for two more years before he became assistant coach/director of scouting in 2001.
Erik Spoelstra was an assistant coach when the Heat won its first NBA championship in 2006. He continued to impress his bosses with his knowledge of the game and so it was not much of a surprise that he was made head coach in 2008 after Pat Riley stepped down.
Erik Spoelstra Has Won Two Championships as Head Coach
In his first year as head coach, Erik Spoelstra led the Miami Heat to the playoffs. They returned the following year but were also defeated in the first round. In 2010, the team got a major boost by acquiring the services of LeBron James and Chris Bosh. They went on to reach four straight NBA Finals, winning two in 2012 and 2013.
In 2020, Spoelstra led the Heat back to the NBA Finals but they were beaten by the Los Angeles who were led by one of Spoelstra’s former players, LeBron.
His Wife Nikki Sapp is a former Miami Heat Dance Squad Member
Spoelstra is married to former Miami Heat dance squad member, Nikki Sapp. The pair met during her time as a cheerleader for the team between 2005 and 2008 but only started dating after she left her cheerleading role. The couple announced their engagement in September 2015 before exchanging vows in July 2016. Erik and Nikki have since welcomed two sons.