By Val Marvin Macanas
"Dream Big, Anything is Possible.- Coach Erik Spoelstra"
Coach Erik Spoelstra of the reigning NBA Champs- the Miami Heat, is an embodiment of an athlete who's dream of making it Big in the World of Sports has been finally fulfilled, although in a slightly different way- being the first ever NBA Coach with an Asian Blood to win an NBA Championship Ring.
Coach Spoelstra grew under the watchful eyes of his father who was closely involved in the world of professional basketball. No wonder, as early as his days as a youth, he became a rabid sports enthusiast.
Dreaming of becoming a professional basketball player someday just like his childhood idols, Coach Spoelstra worked his way to the Men's Basketball Team line-up of the University of Portland (UP) wherein he starred as a point-guard for 4 years. He won some awards during his stint with UP. One remarkable award that he received was the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year Award. That's how good he is as a basketball player and as a point-guard.
But while he was trudging the road towards playing professional basketball, he discovered that he has a different calling which is to become a Basketball Coach.
“I think at some point, in high school or college, I realized that I won’t be able to play professional basketball, and I developed a passion to get into coaching. I didn’t care at what level, either in high school or in college. At that time, I just knew I wanted to make it into a career,” said Spoelstra.
That was not too surprising considering that he used to be a point-guard- the extension of the coach on the court.
Personally, I've seen a lot of point-guards thrive as a coach later on in their careers primarily because of their extensive knowledge of the appropriate plays to run in different kinds of situations and the intangible leadership and motivational skills that they learned first hand from their head coaches. Later on, this would help explain why Coach Spoelstra is a great NBA Coach.
Talking about not giving up on one's dream and seizing the opportunity when it arrives, Coach Spoelstra worked really hard just to satisfy his desire to become a basketball coach. He eventually landed an internship working for a professional basketball team. That was a blessing in disguise as he met the legendary Coach of the Miami Heat, Pat Riley. He became the lucky apprentice of Coach Riley. That's why he is forever grateful to the Good Old Man who taught him the importance of having a personality characterized by motivation, discipline, and both mental and physical toughness. That was very evident when I attended Coach Spoelstra's interactive NBA Finals Viewing Party earlier this month at the SM Mall of Asia. He used the word motivation a lot especially after their Game 1 loss against the OKC Thunder.
“One of the most important things I’ve learned in being the leader of this team is that you have to be able to show strength especially when it’s needed…and be an example to the team and the players. This is especially true when we’re going through some tough times and my players are confident that they can depend on me for strength and guidance throughout the game and for the whole season. Similarly, the game of basketball can teach so many of life’s most important lessons — the value of teamwork; the value of discipline; the importance of sacrifice, and playing for something bigger than yourself. This, in a nutshell, is the game of basketball and the game of life,” added Coach Spoelstra.
Smart Communications, the country’s leading wireless services provider also believes in Coach Spoelstra's Philosophy in life.
Mr. Noel Lorenzana, EVP and Head of Wireless Consumer Division, Smart Communications Inc., elaborates on why they chose Coach Spoelstra to be Smart Infinity’s new international brand ambassador. He said:
“Coach Spoelstra’s achievements on and off the court is really inspiring. Getting him to be Smart Infinity’s new international brand ambassador is a true testament of our continuing passion to always strive to become the best that you can be. Achieving success after all, whether it be in sports or in life, is the ultimate goal of everyone.”
Thus, here is the new campaign of Smart- the Smart Infinity Plan 3500, featuring our very own Coach Spoelstra of the Miami Heat! What a very nice partnership.
“Dream big. There’s a great world out there and dreams can and do happen. It just requires somebody courageous enough to think out of the box, believe and know that anything and everything is possible.”- Coach Spoelstra