As the head coach for the Miami Heat, Erik Spoelstra is the first Asian American to hold that title in any of the four major North American sports leagues. He is also the first Asian American head coach to ever win an NBA championship, which the team secured in 2012 and 2013. Since 2011, Spoelstra has led his team to the NBA Finals four times in a row. The Heat’s fifth appearance in the NBA Finals was in 2020.
Before his coaching career, Erik was a basketball player himself. He accepted a basketball scholarship offer from the University of Portland before being named West Coast Conference freshman of the year. He spent four years as a starting point card and is considered one of the career leaders in many categories. While playing abroad in Germany, Spoelstra received a job offer with the Miami Heat, and he’s since climbed his way up to lead one of the best teams in the nation.