Erik Spoelstra addresses infamous LeBron James bumping incident
Nearly a decade later, Erik Spoelstra is finally speaking out about “Bumpgate.”
In an interview this week with TNT’s Ernie Johnson on the NBA’s Twitter feed, the Miami Heat coach was asked about the notorious incident in 2010 where LeBron James appeared to bump him on the sideline during a timeout.
“No, I don’t think so,” Spoelstra said of the notion that James bumped him intentionally, per the Miami Herald. “When you’re on teams like that, they naturally get micro-analyzed. We were 9-8 after that game, it exploded in the media. After that, we went on a run, winning 21 out of 22.”
Spoelstra then added that, in the weeks following the incident, he and James “would walk by each other in the hallways and collide into each other and we would laugh.”
The bumping controversy was certainly a big deal at the time, as Miami was off to a brutal start in the first season of their Big Three era. Questions also lingered about if Spoelstra was the right man for the job and if Heat president Pat Riley might fire him to return as head coach himself. The team righted the ship however and made the Finals for the next four years in a row, including winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.
Rumors might still abound that James once wanted Spoelstra to be fired. But as one of James’ longest-lasting head coaches (and now one of the longest-tenured coaches in the entire NBA), there is definitely something to be said about Spoelstra’s perseverance and ability to lead through turmoil.