Erik Spoelstra: Hatred Toward Asian Americans 'Sickening' and 'Despicable'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2021

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra reacts during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke out against racism toward Asian Americans in the wake of the Atlanta-area shootings Tuesday that killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent.

"Look, I am Asian American," he said Friday, per Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. "I'm proud to be Asian American. And seeing what's happening, with another just outright form of racism and hatred, it really is sickening. It breaks my heart. It is despicable."

Spoelstra is among the most prominent Asian American voices in the NBA.

He has been the head coach of the Heat since the 2008-09 season and has two championships to go with five NBA Finals appearances.

He is not the only one with NBA ties to raise concerns about the racism Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are facing. Jeremy Lin, who played nine seasons in the league, tweeted about the "heartbreaking" events in the Atlanta area:

Jeremy Lin @JLin7

This is sooo heartbreaking...praying for our world. To my Asian American family, please take time to grieve but know youre loved, seen and IMPORTANT. We have to keep standing up, speaking out, rallying together and fighting for change. We cannot lose hope!! ❤️#StopAsianHate #NOW https://t.co/Xm4ojbJALw

Kate Sullivan of CNN reported President Joe Biden condemned the "skyrocketing" hate crimes against Asian Americans.

He and Vice President Kamala Harris also met with AAPI leaders in Atlanta on Friday in the wake of the shootings.