Heat’s Spoelstra on violence against Asian-Americans, ‘sickening and breaks my heart’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The NBA’s first Asian-American coach, Erik Spoelstra felt compelled to speak out further prior to guiding the Miami Heat Friday night against the Indiana Pacers, after the team earlier in the day condemned the recent nationwide violence against Asian-Americans.

“I’m glad the organization made a statement,” said Spoelstra, who is of Filipino descent from his mother’s side of the family. “These acts of hatred and violence against the Asian community . . . look, I’m Asian-American, I’m proud to be Asian-American. And seeing what’s happen with another outright form of racism and hatred really is sickening and breaks my heart. It’s despicable.

“I think more people have to be made aware of this. It really is irrelevant who you are or what you are. You have to see this is wrong. And it really is heartbreaking. And it just shows you where we are. There is hatred abundantly still out there and people feel empowered to attack the Asian community. I just pray in my heart that this can stop.”

He then spoke of his own life experience, albeit, “not in terms with this kind of violence.”

“Look,” he said, “if you grow up Asian and you’re different, you definitely hear derogatory terms at some point growing up. And you hope that as you get older that that’s a thing of the past. But it clearly is not.

“And it really is horrifying to think people are being targeted just based on race, and ignorantly being attacked and blamed for something that it’s just pure hatred.”

Earlier this Heat released a statement that read:

“The recent spate of attacks on Asian-Americans is reprehensible and extremely upsetting to us. A hateful act of violence committed against one of us is an act of violence committed against all of us. And it has to stop. We condemn the violence in the strongest possible terms and we stand with our friends in the Asian-American community.”