“This is going to be a process,” warned Erik Spoelstra back in November of 2010, coming on the heels of back-to-back losses for the first time in the Big Three Era.
The Miami Heat head coach would go on to repeat that word approximately 12,000 times over the last six-plus years, which included four finals appearances, two championships, and one devastating “coming home” letter.
It’s time to dive back into the precious Book of Spoisms and take a look back at Spo’s glorious word play over the years. The foundation for most Spoisms was laid during the first year of the LeBron Era.
Note Spoisms are listed in alphabetical order. This post will continue to be updated as more Spoisms are spewed into the basketball universe. Tweet me @JoshBaumgard for any recommendations.
Adapt or die
Spoelstra on changing the Heat’s offense for LeBron after losing to Mavs in The Finals: “It was either adapt or die.”
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) March 19, 2014
Ball will find energy
SPOELSTRA ON RAY ALLEN: "The ball will find energy and he has an energy around him at the three-point line." #Spoism
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) October 4, 2012
“The ball will find energy.” #Spoisms
— Ry (@JustRyCole) May 4, 2016
Embrace the grind/moment/process
"We just have to embrace the grind." Never change, Erik Spoelstra.
— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) May 16, 2013
Hay’s in the barn
All preparations have been made.
Spoelstra on Game 7: "The hay's in the barn."
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) June 20, 2013
Don’t. Let. Go. Of. The. Rope.
With the Celtics grasping a 3-2 lead in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals (from Yahoo Sports‘ Adrian Wojnarowski):
“Our focus is to fight any kind of noise from the outside, or any human condition,” Spoelstra said late on Tuesday night. The human condition is this: He’s begging his Heat stars to do something they didn’t do a year ago, when they lost a series lead, lost the momentum, lost the edge and lost their way going into a Game 6. Please, please, don’t collapse under the weight of our frailties again.”
LeBron expunged the human condition from his soul in Game 6 with a 45-point, 15-rebound masterpiece in Boston.
Spoelstra: "The identity of this game was toughness, particularly on the defensive end."
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) December 15, 2015
"We’re trying to instill the habits of our identity right now regardless of whom the other team throws out there." #Spoism
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) October 19, 2012
Spo: "Now it comes down to whether we can remain true to our identity and habits."
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 26, 2016
Spo on @RodneyMcGruder : "How do we want to play? What's our habits? What's our identity? That guy. That's what it is."
— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) March 8, 2017
In a lather
“So we don’t want them to warmup? I like seeing our guys in a lather [of sweat]. As long as I see a lather and they’re ready to go, that’s the whole point.”
Spo probably has “fornicate” in his vocabulary as well.
Erik Spoelstra: "I'm intellectually stimulated with this team & the frustrations we've had & trying to figure it out."
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) January 29, 2015
Land the plane
Spoelstra’s job while coaching the Big Three:
He recognizes Riley has handed him a roster other coaches envy.
“My job is to land the plane,” Spoelstra said.
He is aware that many assume it’s on autopilot but contends “it’s never as easy as it seems.” He insists he doesn’t care “about my reputation out there” — and that he ranks positive assessments from coaching peers second only to those from Heat higher-ups.
Its dictionary definition states a maestro is “a great or distinguished figure in any sphere.”
Spoelstra has used this word in describing point guards Steve Nash and Rajon Rondo.
Natural order to competition
Spoelstra: "There is no logic. There is no natural order to competition." #spoisms
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) June 14, 2014
Spo describes noise as any distraction from the outside. This can entail the media, fans, as well as Miami spectators.
LeBron hasn’t had to worry about much noise on the sidelines in Cleveland.
One bite at a time
One of the freshest but strangest Spoisms, and from this past season.
Spo, on coming back from 11-30: "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) April 12, 2017
One zero of thought
Of Indiana, Spoelstra says he "won't waste one zero of thought of what's going on in their camp."
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 8, 2014
Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra says tonight's win was about "our truth…our guys can go back in the locker room & look each other in the eyes"
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 5, 2012
Another classic Spoism, it means to man up, accept the result, learn from it, and push forward.
Popcorn is popping
“When the lights are bright, and the popcorn is popping, our guys come to life.” – Sun Sentinel, 2013
Spoelstra: "we want to get to a point where we're positionless, and we have basketball players out there. Ray fits that."
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 11, 2012
I think every tweener that gets a big payday should have to give a check to Erik Spoelstra ("positionless basketball") and Draymond Green. 😂
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 1, 2016
Erik Spoelstra: "We're not there. We did not play well tonight. But, again, we have a different timeline and this is going to be a process"
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) November 12, 2010
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) November 12, 2014
This is one of Spo’s it words. FORGET you, Philly.
— Jorge Sedano (@SedanoESPN) January 29, 2017
LeBron took this Spoism with him to Cleveland.
LeBron denied having a heated exchange with Kyrie Irving this week. Said they are working through a process of learning to play together
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) November 7, 2014
Erik Spoelstra on Whiteside: "He's pure."
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) March 17, 2015
Let's check in on Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's timeout huddle: "Let's be pure about this, guys. Only off-handed three-pointers."
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) April 16, 2015
Gerald Green has made all 3 of his FGA. Before the game, Spoelstra said, "he is approaching things with a pure heart." Not usual coachspeak.
— KL Chouinard (@KLChouinard) October 18, 2015
Put all that in a bowl
Spo on the D; "To be frank about it there was a lack of detail, focus, discipline & effort. Put that all in a bowl & you get a bad result."
— Eric Reid (@EReidMiamiHeat) May 19, 2014
Restrictions of the mind
Coach Spoelstra on Dwyane Wade: “He’s able to play pain free without any restrictions of the mind.”
— Hot Hot Hoops (@hothothoops) November 9, 2013
Rotation is the rotation
Spo: "The playoff rotation is the rotation. It's as simple as that."
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) April 17, 2016
Dwyane Wade scored a quick 11, comes out. As Spoelstra said prior to the game, "The rotation is the rotation."
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 30, 2012
Sharpen our/their swords
Spoelstra: "We're sharpening our swords. The battle is coming." Game of Thrones!
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 3, 2014
Spo and JJ both dropping a "sharpen our swords" reference postgame tonight.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) April 8, 2017
Stay in the moment
There is no tomorrow… until tomorrow. Stay true to the moment and yourself.
Stay the course
“The guys have built up a resiliency and a mental toughness just to stay the course and stay focused.” – LA Times, 2012
"Stay the course" from Spo. Drink.
— Noam Schiller (@noamschiller) December 7, 2012
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) November 12, 2014
Theater of the absurd
My personal favorite.
Spoelstra when asked about the pregame dunking ritual was incredulous:"I don't deal with the theater of the absurd." #Heat
— Josh Friedman (@790Friedo) February 28, 2013
Spoelstra calls criticism of LBJ for not taking shot in All-Star game continuation of theater of the absurd.
— Chris Perkins (@chrisperk) February 28, 2012
Spoelstra called criticism of LeBron's pass to Bosh in Game 5 vs. Indy "theater of the absurd."
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) June 9, 2014
Spoelstra calls the #WithoutWade talk "the theater of the absurd."
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) January 21, 2012
This is the path
Spo: "There's usually not an easy way in a seven-game series. This is the path."
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) May 14, 2016
Time it’ll need to take
Fresh Spoism hot out of the oven for you guys. This one's on building player chemistry:
"Sometimes it takes the time it’ll need to take."
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) January 2, 2016
Weather the storm
Spo in the huddle: "Weather the storm." With what, a lifeboat and vest? #Titanic
— Dan Cohen (@DanCohenWREX) June 4, 2012
When Spoelstra has you brainwashed RT @EthanJSkolnick: Wade: "We just got to weather the storm, man."
— PLATO (@Ink_OrangeJuice) January 22, 2016
Whatever is required
Spo on going small: It's whatever is required right now. #Heat
— Zach Buckley (@ZachBuckleyNBA) May 14, 2016
Spo on missing Udrih (foot surgery): "It's next man up. We will adjust accordingly, whatever is required."
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 24, 2016
Work the energy
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) December 21, 2013
World we live in
Spoelstra says media presence increases "when we really struggle or, I guess, now when we are very successful. That's the world we live in."
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) March 27, 2013
Oh and here are a few Spoism shirts:
— Adam Smoot, Tbh. (@adamsmoot) March 7, 2017