Erik Spoelstra is proud of his Filipino heritage, and as part of paying homage to it, has been flying in to the country to return to his roots.
Due to the NBA lockout last year, it was a pretty much muzzled experience for most Pinoys, who would have loved to enjoy and relish the Heat experience of making the Finals in Lebron+Dwyane+Chris's first year. In spite of that, Grantland writer Rafe Bartholomew wrote a definitive narrative of his visit then.
Fast forward a year later.
The Miami Heat wins the championship and some much needed satisfaction for each individual on that organization.
For Spoelstra, it brings legitimacy to his coaching acumen, something he first learned in Miami as a video-coordinator and then as an assistant under Pat Riley.
Now a champion, he makes his triumphant return to the Philippines, with fans looking forward to when he will visit. And he did earlier this month, squeezing a lot onto this schedule.
He made a splash during the PBA Governor's Cup Finals, watching Game 5 and visited the locker room. He held a press conference to a happy set of Filipino media and had a courtesy call with the President of the Republic. He taught kids. He explained Game 4 of the NBA Finals to a throng of Heat fans in a movie theater.
I was privileged enough to be able to watch the latter that particular night, after earlier having the opportunity to be one of the few media members able to attend a Facebook video chat conducted by Gatorade Philippines. I took the chance to record the event as seen below...
We are privileged to have had Erik Spoelstra come to our shores for the past few years, making an impact with those around him.