Erik Spoelstra reportedly dating former Heat dancer Nikki Sapp

Erik-Spoelstra-Nikki-SappErik Spoelstra has a new girlfriend, and Miami Heat fans will be happy to hear that he is sticking with the Heat family even in his personal life. Spoelstra likes his team so much that he decided to date one of its former dancers, 24-year-old Nikki Sapp.

According to Gossip Extra, the 42-year-old Spoelstra attended a fundraiser sponsored by Heat broadcasters Eric Reid and Tony Fiorentino and was accompanied by Sapp.

Sapp began dancing for the Heat in 2006, just after she turned 18. She is now a director at Guy Hepner art gallery in West Hollywood and splits her time between Miami and Los Angeles.

Spoelstra and Sapp have reportedly been dating for more than two years, so the two have done a pretty good job of keeping their relationship quiet. Considering Spoelstra is nearly twice the young lady’s age, it’s possible that played into his decision to not make any public appearances with her. Or, it’s also possible that he is just a private person.

In any event, life seems to be going well for Coach Spo at the moment. The Heat have dominated the NBA with 18 straight victories and his lady friend is quite easy on the eyes.

H/T Miami Herald via Black Sports Online


Erik Spoelstra: LeBron James is ‘making greatness look easy’

LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. At the moment, there is really no debating that. Maybe it’s his age. LeBron turned 28 in December, and the mid- to late-20s are great basketball prime years. Perhaps having finally won a championship has made him a better player. Whatever the case, LeBron is on an incredible hot streak.

During a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, James scored 32 points on 12 of 18 shooting. It was his fifth-straight game with at least 30 points, but there are some other players in the league who are capable of that. Shooting better than 60% from the field in each of those games, however, is amazing.

“He was playing with so much energy on both ends of the court,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Then in the last five minutes he had to take the challenge defensively against Kobe. So he was doing it at both ends of the court.

“I say this to Miami fans: don’t take it for granted,” Spoelstra said. “He’s making greatness look easy.”

It would be tough to argue against that. LeBron may not be averaging the most points per game in the league — Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant have all scored at a slightly higher level than King James — but he’s easily the most complete player in the league at the moment. Shooting better than 60% and scoring over 30 points in five straight games not only shows that his shot has been on, but also that his selection has be phenomenal.

James is averaging 6.9 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game to go along with his 27.0 points. A lot of players can drop nearly 30 points per game if they take enough shots, but LeBron is doing it all. He has emerged as the clear-cut floor leader in Miami, and the team is better off for it.

“I think he’s figured out his game and how to use his size,” Kobe told reporters after the game. “I think he’s a little more focused than when he was younger. When you’re a young player, particularly him, you expect things to happen. Your career seems like it’s endless.

“I think he’s at the stage of his career in which he’ll value each year and take the significance to his training and take the significance to focus each game.”

He’s also at a stage in his career where multiple championships are a legitimate possibility. And Spoelstra is right — he’s making it look easy.

Photo credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Erik Spoelstra gets Gatorade bath after Heat win (Video)

If you thought that Gatorade baths were strictly a football celebration thing, you were wrong. The Heat players were so excited about winning an NBA title, they doused coach Erik Spoelstra with the beverage after winning the NBA title on Thursday night.

Spoelstra’s suit was ruined but there’s little doubt it was worth it for him. Maybe this is what they need to do with Chris Bosh in the future considering he gets a little too awkward when he does it on his own.

Dwyane Wade ticked at Erik Spoelstra during timeout (Video)

Dwyane Wade augmented his crap game against the Pacers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Thursday by confronting coach Erik Spoelstra during a timeout. Wade had just missed a three and was late getting back on defense when the timeout was called. Spoelstra must have called him out about something, because Wade reacted in a negative manner and got in his coach’s face.

Spoelstra brushed aside the incident in his postgame comments.

“That happens. Anybody who has been a part of a team who has been a coach or been a player you have no idea how often things like that happen,” Spoelstra said. “That was during an emotional part of the game. We were getting our butt kicked.

“Dwyane and I have been together for a long time… That was nothing… That’s the least of our concerns… Our concerns are getting ready for Sunday.”

Yeah, that sort of thing isn’t infrequent, but the point is it shouldn’t be happening during key playoff games. That was just another sign that the Heat were a mess. Wade went 2-for-13 and had as many turnovers as points — five. The guy played like crap and is a big reason they lost the game by 19 points. He shouldn’t have any blame for Spoelstra for his performance — that’s all on him.

Erik Spoelstra: The consistent greatness of Lebron James is a negative because people take him for granted

Is LeBron James too good? If you ask Erik Spoelstra, that just might be the case. The Heat are the best team in the East and LeBron is having an MVP-caliber season. He’s averaging 27.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game. Perhaps more importantly, LeBron has played tremendous defense. According to Spoelstra, King James is the most consistently great player in the NBA. That may be true, but does he get less attention than he deserves because of it?

“If you compare it to any of the all-time greats — what he’s doing — it’s on par or arguably even better than what anybody has done and we need him to have an MVP season quite frankly to go where we want to go,” Spoelstra said during an interview with WQAM in Miami. “Of course his head coach is going to say that but he is so unique and dimensional and his consistent greatness is one of his negatives in terms of how he is perceived because you take it for granted.

“I think the media and people who judge him take it for granted what he’s able to do on both ends of the court. He’s a true two way player. He can lead the league in scoring, but he can also get double digit assists and get everyone involved. He can do it in the post, in transition, on pick and rolls, isolation, and defensively what he is doing for us this year I don’t know if that has really been matched in terms of guarding one through five every single game.”

Spoelstra also alluded to the way LeBron is able to sprint from one end of the court to another to block a layup, but that is certainly something he gets credit for. Every time James does that it’s all over Sportscenter, so I’m not sure what other attention Spoelstra expects.

As for LeBron being underrated, that is true of every superstar to a certain extent. Guys like LeBron and Kobe are held to their own standard. We don’t take LeBron’s performances and compare them to Ray Allen’s, because that wouldn’t make sense. Besides, none of the Heat players should be thinking about individual recognition or MVP resumes. Isn’t the goal to win not one, not two, not three championships?

Assessing the 2010-11 Miami Heat Roster and Where they go from Here

Some view Miami’s loss in the NBA Finals as a monumental failure. And if you only watched the last five games of the series, you’d have no reason to believe otherwise. But honestly, how many of us thought Miami would come closer to a title than the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers this year?

That’s the world we live in today, one where the dissected pieces are dissected once more before being arranged into 140 character tweets and sent out to all who will listen, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In this new world, information is so readily available yet moving at such a high rate of speed that many times we forget what we were thinking just a minute ago let alone at the start of the NBA season; we’re in a society of short memories.

Miami wasn’t supposed to get here, despite their pre-season victory parade and all of the shenanigans that we observed under LRMR’s big top circus act. This team was a year away. It was the general consensus coming into the season and it held true until the Celtics stumbled and the Lakers seemed gassed against the Mavs. And even when the playoffs began, many fans and pundits favored Chicago, San Antonio and LA over Miami. And that’s okay, because Miami had many flaws that could only be sealed if LeBron became the best player, ever.

[Read more...]

Erik Spoelstra Insists Miami Heat is a Physical Team

The Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series 99-90. Dwyane Wade carried the Heat with 38 points while James Jones added 25 on 5-for-7 three-point shooting. Paul Pierce was ejected after getting his second technical foul for getting physical with Dwyane Wade, and the game was described as “chippy” by Doc Rivers. Miami beating the physical Celtics was a surprise for some folks, and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about it. He offered a different perspective of his team.

“Both teams are physical, and this is the playoffs,” Spoelstra said. “At this point in the year you can’t be somebody you’re not. We are trying to play our game, the game of basketball, the habits that we’ve built for five months and do it better than them for four games. That’s it.”

“We’re not stepping out of who we are, we’re not trying to be more physical than who we are because it’s the playoffs, [or] because it’s Boston,” he continued. “We’re a physical basketball team and that’s probably been understated all year long. We’re one of the better rebounding teams in the league. We play a physical, aggressive style of defense, we’re not doing a lot different.”

That’s an extremely different assessment of the same Heat team people feel is soft because of Chris Bosh’s crying episode, and the word from Spoelstra that the team was crying after a March loss to the Bulls. If Miami manages to beat the Celtics, and moreover, win the NBA title, I fully expect all the criticism of them crying to change to it being an example of the Heat “having heart.” You heard it here first, from your neighborhood friendly blogging hero.