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October 11, 2020

Erik Spoelstra

Miami Heat

Game 6: Postgame

Los Angeles Lakers - 106, Miami Heat - 93

Q. Is it tough in this moment to reflect on what this moment meant, what this journey meant to you guys, where this franchise was a year and a half ago?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: I mean, first congratulations to the Laker organization. It was great to share this stage with them and congratulations on the championship. They earned it. They earned it in this series.

We can't thank the NBA enough for this whole experience. This has just been extraordinary, this bubble, this campus, the safety protocols and just the organization of everything. To be able to be a part of something historic like this to continue our season, we felt or we feel so honored and grateful that we were able to be a part of this. And it took a big-time collaboration between the League, their vision, the Players' Association, the leadership of the Players' Association and the organizations to make this happen. It's just really been incredible to be a part of this.

And obviously I want to thank everybody in the Miami Heat organization. This has been such an unprecedented year, it's taken everybody to be able to just go all in and support the small traveling party that came here to the bubble. But like Rob [Wilson] and a bunch of people working behind the scenes that nobody gets to see, we thank you. And then obviously the staff and the players actually in this environment. We didn't get the final result that we wanted. But even what I mentioned to the guys, these are going to be lifetime memories that we have together.

This locker room, regardless of whatever happens in the future, we're going to remember this year, this season, this experience and that locker room brotherhood for the rest of our lives. You're in this business to be able to be around people like this. And I can go on and on. But the guys that competed and played in this series, we had several guys that were not even close to being a hundred percent. Probably shouldn't have been playing, but that's how this group was. They wanted to do it for each other. And I just, I'm really bummed that we couldn't find a way to get over the hump and finish the season with a win.

But that's taking nothing away from the Lakers, they played great and particularly tonight.

Q. This is the mandatory question, unfortunately, what was the scene in the room?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Probably as you can imagine. We have a very proud, competitive, heartfelt group. Our group is very connected and I don't think anybody, any one of us were prepared for this. It took me a few minutes just to gather myself to be able to even figure out what to say to the team. None of us had anticipated this. Our guys are pretty down, as you can imagine. But what a wonderful group to be around. Really just amazing people.

These memories that we'll have, again, that transcends even the game. As disappointing as this loss was, those moments and memories in between and this whole experience will be something that we can all take with us for the rest of our careers and the rest of our lives.

One more thing, too, I definitely want to thank all the families. This has been incredibly challenging for everybody, for everybody that's been involved in this bubble, the wives, the families, the kids, everybody that's made sacrifices. People that say it's not that big of a deal to be away from your family for that long, it's easy to say that when you're not in it. I know a lot of families had to make big-time sacrifices to hold down the fort while we're chasing our basketball dreams. So I wanted to definitely shout out to my wife, Nikki and all the families, the mothers, dads, wives, kids, and everybody that stuck with it while we were able to do all this.

Q. We talked so much about Jimmy leading this team. What does it mean to you that he has continuously described the Miami Heat organization as the place he now kind of finally sees as home.

ERIK SPOELSTRA: I think that's what we're all looking for, right, is to be part of a family. To be a part of something where you felt all along that you were searching for something. Where you can just be yourself, you don't have to make any apologies for who you are. We have been searching for him for a long time and I think he's been searching for something like us for a while.

Again, you're in this business to be around amazing people and to develop incredible relationships. It is about the game, it is about winning, but it also is about being around locker rooms that you'll remember for a long, long time. I'm just thrilled to be able to have an opportunity to coach Jimmy and have a relationship with him and move forward chasing this dream. It's not going to stop. We're all wired the same. So we'll get over this at some point. I don't expect anybody to get over it tonight. But we have some brothers in arms now moving forward that we share the same values and the same goals and that's part of the battle of just finding that kind of alignment.

Q. (No microphone.)

ERIK SPOELSTRA: How about Goran even just going out there and playing tonight? That's just crazy. There's no way he should have been out there. He texted me -- the night he got hurt in Game 1 he texted, I got a text literally around 4:15 in the morning, he said, Coach, don't give up on me on this series. Give me a chance. I'll find my way back.

I talked to the trainers the next day, they said, "Not a chance." And sure enough, he's basically begging every one of us the last three games just to give him a chance. That just shows you his character and how much he wants to give, too. Not for himself, he's already proved himself. He's one of the most decorated players in this game, but he wanted to do it for his teammates and he's another one of those special human beings that I'm just honored that I've been able to coach him and develop that kind of relationship with him over the years. We have been through some tough times and we wanted to make that promise to him that we were going to stay focused on trying to build a championship team. And he hung in there with us and it was a heck of a run. He had an amazing year this year.

Q. Wonder if you could just talk about what made those emotions hit at the beginning. And also you still got that badge on your chest. Why is it important for you to still have it and what do you think about the whole social justice movement for the last three months?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Yeah, I'm glad you bring that up because I think we have all been inspired that, not only that we see something that's absolutely wrong and you don't want to just talk about it, you want to actually be a part of the change. We don't want any one of us to forget about everything that's still happening out there and because of the color of someone's skin.

The emotions, look, I don't know. I'm not even like that. I'm not even like that as a person. I just think all of these experiences this whole year, being in this bubble, being away from your family, being away from your kids, being away from your wife and going through something like this that you didn't even like contemplate. We thought we were going to Game 7 for sure. So I don't even know how to explain these emotions. I'm sure my wife's watching, wondering who the heck this is right now.

Q. Since the start of the season the growth of Tyler and Bam have been huge in bringing you guys up to this point. Just from where they were when the season started to where they are now and where you think they can get to the future, how excited are you for that, and how big is it for them to have someone like Jimmy to lead the way and set an example?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: There's no question about it. The time is always now with us and if you have the right leadership with Jimmy and Goran and UD, then young players can be all about now. I think we all feel very blessed to have somebody like Bam, you know, that's somebody that fits our fabric, our culture. He is wise and competitive and savvy and mature way beyond his years. I have to remind myself sometimes that he just turned 23 in the bubble here. He feels like he's 28 years old. He feels like he's been in the league for ten years. He's took on that kind of responsibility and leadership role for us.

There really is, there is no ceiling to his potential. Same thing with the rest of our young guys. Tyler, he was a teenager when we started this bubble, and he's totally different now from even where he was in January. Because of the way he approaches it and works, he will continue to get remarkably better fast.

Q. I know how proud you are of the group in what they have shown throughout the bubble, but specific to Jimmy, how would you describe and put into context how he was consistently able to raise his level of play when you guys needed him to, especially in The Finals?

ERIK SPOELSTRA: Jimmy has a superstar competitive spirit to him. If you try to evaluate him or put him in a conventional box of how you view a modern-day basketball player, you're totally missing the boat on JB. He is a winner, he is a leader, he is a motivator, a mentor and just a supreme competitor. And when you get to this level, I think so many people forget about that, the competition and what you can bring out of an entire franchise when you're wired to that level of fierce competitiveness.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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