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Heat head west to Spoelstra’s hometown of Portland to try and stop the formidable Trail Blazers

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Once the point guard of the University of Portland’s Pilots basketball team, Spoelstra comes into town looking to end the Trail Blazers winning streak.

Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Dwyane Wade once jokingly referred to the Miami Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra as Batman.

”He’s like Batman,” Wade said. “He goes into his cave. Nobody sees him.”

Or another reason could be to take cover to avoid being hit by disgruntled Heat fans at restaurants.

He was seated outside at a cafe, when someone threw something at his table.

”Actually, my friend got hit by a piece of sculpture, broken-off sculpture that got thrown,” Spoelstra said. “They were trying to hit me, saying I suck, I should be fired. It went sailing right over my head and hit my buddy right in the chest.”

That he even became an NBA coach speaks volumes about his love of basketball, since no college wanted him as a coach and he took any basketball-related job he could find.

Spoelstra doesn’t know jack about video: coordinating video, editing video, or the coordination of video editing. All he knows is that he wants to be around basketball. He has applied everywhere for a college coaching gig, but has come up empty. If the Heat are interested in having him stick around, then he’ll gladly take on whatever tasks they have for him.

Before that opportunity, Spoelstra got to know a couple of Miami Heat legends after his junior year in high school, while at Sonny Vaccaro’s Nike All-Star camp in Princeton, NJ.

A few months later at the camp, Spoelstra is the point guard for the premier high school player in the country, a kid named Alonzo Mourning.

”I had never seen a player that big and gifted who was so fierce,” Spoesltra says of Mourning.

At camp, Spoelstra also witnesses something he’s never laid eyes on before, a brand of freakish athleticism belonging to a player he had to face in his first game.

”He was doing things none of us had seen before and doing it in an easy way,” Spoesltra says of the 6-foot-9 prodigy.

The kid’s name is Shawn Kemp and, mercifully, Spoelstra never draws him on a switch.

After college Spoelstra went international and wound up practically half-way around the world as player/coach in Germany for two years.

”What that really means was the head coach and I would go get some beers and talk basketball and I’d bring the basketballs to practice,” Spoelstra says, downplaying the slash between player and coach.

In addition to his duties in the backcourt and the bierpalasts of West Germany, Spoelstra is also in charge of coaching the club’s local youth team, his first real head coaching gig.

”I get out there my first practice and they’re all 12 years old,” Spoelstra says. “I don’t even know what kind of offense I’m going to run and how to organize a team. I had balls flying all over the place. I had kids screaming and yelling in a different language. Everybody was out of control, running and bumping into each other. It was probably the most chaotic practice anyone has ever run anywhere.”

The rest of his coaching resume is history, with three NBA championships and several superstars to deal with under his belt.

Portland also houses 23Hoyt, a restaurant partly owned by Spoelstra, as Tom D’Angelo detailed.

And if you are looking for a review for Spoelstra’s restaurant, an American bistro with “the best burger in town” according to one online review, the Heat gives it a thumbs up.

Probably Spo’s favorite dish of chicken adobo with jasmine rice isn’t featured on the menu.