The day Erik Spoelstra resisted LeBron James’ shoulder strike


By once again winning the Eastern Conference with the Heat, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra earned the opportunity to play in his sixth NBA Finals in 13 years. The first was at the end of the 2010-11 season, season I of the Heatles era which had however started with difficulty. A look back at an episode that solidified Coach Spo’s legitimacy at a time when it seemed very threatened.

Before participating in four consecutive NBA Finals and winning two titles in a row, the Miami Big Three made up of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had their share of turbulence. This was particularly the case during the first weeks of the 2010-11 season, when the Heat posted a very disappointing record of 9 wins for 8 losses.

This eighth defeat in 17 games, it dates from November 27, 2011 on the side of Dallas. A meeting marked in particular by an episode that will be talked about a lot at the time: during the third quarter of the match, while the Heat are in the hard, a frustrated Erik Spoelstra decides to take a time-out to stop the hemorrhage. That’s when LeBron James, returning to his bench, hits Spo with his shoulder.

If you think it was completely unintentional, reconsider your judgment. Brian Windhorst, JournalistESPN who is then assigned by the American chain to cover the Heatles on the spot, is formal.

“That nudge was clearly a message. LeBron doesn’t do this without wanting to send a message. »

But what message does the King want to send at this time?

Amid the Heatles’ complicated start to the season, Erik Spoelstra’s place seems threatened. Spo is then a very young coach who is only in his third season at the head of the Miami team. Among the specialists and other Hexperts, many are those who doubt his ability to coach the Florida three-headed monster, to withstand the pressure that accompanies his perilous job. And LeBron James is undoubtedly one of them. While a potential return of the legendary Pat Riley on the bench fuels speculation, the King gets his message across. Probably he would like to see Patoche take matters into his own hands.

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All this to tell you about the crazy adventure of one of the legendary teams in NBA history: the Heatles of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh! 🔥🔥🔥

— Nico TrashTalk 🏀 (@nicolasmeichel) April 24, 2023

After the loss to Dallas that day, the players gather in the locker room for a players-only meeting, which is rarely a good sign for a coach. But Erik Spoelstra has every intention of showing that he remains the man for the job.

“The following Monday [le match était un samedi, NDLR.]I wondered how Erik Spoelstra was going to react to all the speculation surrounding his status as a coach.

In the whole season, he has never been more confident than at this moment. It was a very important moment. Because not only did he show that confidence to the media and therefore to the public, but he also showed it to the players.

–Brian Windhorst

On this November 29, 2010, Erik Spoelstra proves he has the shoulders to one day become one of the most respected coaches in the NBA. Supported 200% by Pat Riley in this tormented period, Spo not only keeps his place on the Miami bench but above all manages to find the right formula to allow the Heatles to become the dreaded war machine.

On Episode 2 of “Four Years of Heat” hosted by @IzGutierrez, @WindhorstESPN talks about a moment from 2010 when Erik Spoelstra showed everyone what he was made of. He is now going to his 6th NBA Finals as Head Coach of the @MiamiHeat.


— NBA (@NBA) May 31, 2023

If the 2010-11 season will be marked by other periods of tension, the Heat will win 21 out of 22 games after the episode of the shoulder blow. And the rest, you know it. A first participation in the NBA Finals in 2011, the first of a series of four consecutive Finals, with two championship titles in the end for the Heatles.


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