Eric Spoelstra only applied for Miami Heat job as a bet

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Eric Spoelstra has emerged as one of the top coaches in the NBA since taking the Miami Heat hot seat back in 2008 - boasting a .624 winning percentage, four Eastern Conference Championships and two NBA titles at the helm of a team full of stars down in South Florida.

But all of the above may never have taken place had it not been for a bet between Spoelstra and his then teammates in Westphalia, Germany.

A Good Bet

Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated described how Spoelstra applied for his original role at the Heat - that of video coordinator - virtually on a whim whilst serving as player/assistant coach at German professional team Tus Herten. 

"He accepted the job as head coach as Sherwood (Oregon) High but backed out a week later so he could return to Germany.

"He only applied for the Heat's video coordinator position in 1995 as part of a bet with his German teammates," the report explains.

And even after Miami showed interest in his services the now head coach came close to turning them down in favor of a concert he was set to go to that night.

"When a club official called with a date for an interview, Spoelstra was inclined to pass because he had tickets to a Grateful Dead concert.

"Even after landing the gig, he was ready to turn it down until his sister called and asked if he'd lost his mind."

Spoelstra of course took up the job and headed back to the US from Germany in the mid nineties to join the then fledgling NBA franchise.

The rest as they say is history.

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Spoelstra's rise through the ranks

After serving his time at the bottom of the Heat ladder, Spoelstra was promoted to advance scout in 1999 before quickly taking the next step to assistant coach - a role he served between 2001-2008.

After already obtaining one ring courtesy of the Miami Heat's 2006 run to the title, Spolestra was handed the top job after franchise legend Pat Riley stepped down in 2008.

Since then Spoelstra has set about cementing his own place in Heat legend and it's fair to say he has done a pretty good job so far, collecting two more rings in the process.

Toughest test

The 2014-15 NBA season, his seventh at the helm, could be his toughest however what with offseason events at the Heat.

LeBron James' decision to return to Cleveland will test Spoelstra's coaching to its limits but the 43-year-old has proven in the past that he is an innovator capable of finding the best from his roster whatever the circumstances.

With fellow Heat lifer Dwyane Wade back on board and the likes of Chris Bosh, Luol Deng and new boy Shabazz Napier along for the ride too it would be foolish to bet against them making another run towards the NBA Finals in the 2014-15 season.

And if that does prove to be the case Miami Heat fans should be sending their gratitude to those German teammates who convinced Eric Spoelstra to apply for a job at the franchise in the first place.

Miami Heat

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