Larry Bird lauds Coach Spo's 'fantastic job' with Heat
MANILA, Philippines -- NBA legend and current Indiana Pacers president for basketball operations Larry Bird commended Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra for a job well done in leading the Heat to back-to-back championships amid intense scrutiny and public attention.
"He's done a great job. A great job," said Bird, who met with Philippine media briefly on Wednesday while the Pacers practiced for the NBA Global Games. "He's a very young coach, even though he's been part of basketball for a long time."
"He had a lot of scrutiny going on and it's been a very tough job for him, but I think he handled it as well as he possibly could," Bird added.
Spoelstra, the first Filipino-American head coach to win an NBA championship, led the Heat to back-to-back titles this year. Along the way, they beat the Pacers in a hotly contested seven-game series in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Indiana head coach Frank Vogel had previously said Spoelstra does not get enough credit for what he has done with Heat, especially in terms of coaching a team that features three superstars -- LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Today, Bird noted that the amount of talent that Miami has makes Spoelstra's job even more difficult.
"Obviously, they have a lot of talent down there," said the Boston Celtics legend. "But sometimes, the teams with the most talent are the most difficult to coach. So I think he has done a fantastic job."
Bird's Pacers will play the Houston Rockets in the first ever NBA pre-season game to be held in Manila tomorrow at the Mall of Asia Arena.