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Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra met his wife Nikki Sapp through his long tenure with the South Florida NBA franchise.
Jamie McCarthy for TNT via Getty Images.

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has risen through the ranks of the South Florida NBA organization. He started as a video coordinator in 1995 and accelerated to an assistant coach position in addition to his video coordinating duties after two years.

In 1999, he left his video role behind and was promoted to advance scout to accompany his coaching responsibilities. He rose to the director of scouting in 2001 and held that position until he was hand-picked as Pat Riley‘s successor as head coach in 2008.

Spoelstra knows the National Basketball Association franchise inside and out. And if it wasn’t for his ascension, he wouldn’t have met his wife, former Miami Heat cheerleader Nikki Sapp.

Erik Spoelstra’s Wife Nikki Sapp

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Nikki Sapp-Spoelstra has always had a passion for dance and art. She danced for the Heat from 2005 to 2008 while finishing her Art History degree at Florida International University. She met Spo in her last year with the Heat. The couple started dating after she left the team.

Mrs. Spoelstra carries her passion for dance into teaching. She instructs children from kindergarten through high school all over South Florida. She’s served as the head coach of the Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM) Academy School.

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The former Heat dancer dabbled in the art world by becoming the gallery director for the Guy Hepner Contemporary Art Gallery in Los Angeles in 2010. The next year, she opened a Miami gallery for Hepner.

The two got engaged on September 17, 2015, and tied the knot on July 22, 2016. Nikki Spoelstra posts regularly about her family’s life on social media.

Erik & Nikki Spoelstra’s Kids

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and his wife Nikki welcomed their first child, Santiago Ray Spoelstra, on March 25, 2018. He missed the subsequent game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.

Santiago became a big brother on December 5, 2019, when Dante Nicholas Spoelstra became the newest member of the family. The American professional basketball coach was absent for Miami’s game against the Boston Celtics the previous night to be by Nikki’s side for the birth of his second son. Assistant coach Dan Craig assumed head coaching duties for each absence.

Coach Spo has only missed two games during his tenure as the Heat coach, both for the birth of his children.

The guy who guided LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh to NBA championships in 2012 and 2013 returned to the NBA Finals in 2020 but fell to James and the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. This season, the Heat went under the radar to claim the number one seed in the East for the 2022 NBA playoffs. Spoelstra’s team — led by Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry — is is dead set on returning to the Finals.

Spoelstra’s family is the only thing that takes priority over his dedication to the Heat.

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Joe Grobeck About the author:
Joe is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and lives in Austin, Texas. He believes Ndaumkong Suh should've won the 2009 Heisman and is an avid basketball fan.
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