SINGAPORE – National Basketball Association (NBA) fans can expect more foreign players including Asians in the US professional league, the Asian-American coach of NBA champions Miami Heat said Monday.
“The game of basketball… has become global and the NBA will search for players and talent in any country in any region of the world as long as that talent can help teams win,” said Erik Spoelstra.
“I don’t see why there won’t continue to be players from Asia, from Europe, from South America, one of these days hopefully from the Philippines, but it is exciting,” he told journalists during a promotional visit to Singapore.
Spoelstra, who coached the Miami Heat to their second NBA title in June, hailed the achievements of former New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin, one of the few Asian Americans in NBA history.
Lin, who recently signed to join the Houston Rockets, rocketed to fame last season with the Knicks, thrilling New York fans with his clutch shooting and passing skills, sparking the “Linsanity” phenomenon.
“Hopefully we can break down barriers and ultimately players will be viewed for just that talent and not necessarily their race,” he said of Lin, whose parents are from Taiwan.
“It really is a worldwide game and you are seeing some incredible stories come from different areas in the world,” he said.
Spoelstra, whose mother is from the Philippines, is the first ever head coach of Asian descent to win an NBA title.