Written by Al Iannazzone
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t always agree with David Fizdale’s suggestions and he joked that he threw him out of his office many times when the two worked together. But Spoelstra always appreciated Fizdale’s mind, viewpoint and ability to challenge him.
Spoelstra is widely considered one of the NBA’s best coaches. He wouldn’t be if not for the influence of the Knicks’ new coach.
“Fiz definitely made me better,” Spoelstra said during a conference call Wednesday afternoon. “We had some epic, legendary fights. We would challenge each other all the time. Fiz was not afraid to share his opinion. I wanted him to challenge me, question things, make me look at things in a different lens. And he constantly did that.
“Because of our friendship we had that type of understanding that we could push boundaries to get the best possible result that we were looking for or to get something different that neither one of us thought. Some of those times were epic arguments. Other staff members would have to step in and thought that we were getting too personal about it. But neither one of us actually viewed it that way. It was more about trying to make each other better.