Miami Heat president Pat Riley surprised Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra today by presenting him with a baby he adopted for Spoelstra to raise as a single father.
"It is Erik's call on whether or not he's going to stay with the team or go spend time with the new family I created for him," said Riley. "I'm not going to force him either way. But there's a little baby that is counting on him right now for undivided attention."
The Heat have gotten off to a disappointing 10-8 start, sparking rumors that Riley will push Spoelstra aside as he is thought to have done with former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy under similar circumstances in 2005.
But Riley insists that is not the case.
"I was doing some holiday shopping over Thanksgiving and I simply decided to adopt a child for Erik," said Riley. "He's 40 years old and doesn't have a wife or kids. It's a great gift. And completely innocent."
Spoelstra was struggling with the new baby at the Heat's practice today, trying to feed the little Chinese infant Riley named Stan Van Spoelstra while the team scrimmaged. He later had to stop practice completely to change a poopy diaper, causing several players to complain.
Riley, dressed in a sweat suit and wearing a whistle, later appeared at practice and told Spoelstra he could leave to spend more time with the new baby if he'd like. Spoelstra declined, but admitted he's not sure how he'll juggle the baby and his job as Heat coach.
"I am dedicated to this team," he said. "But I also have this baby to think of, somewhat unexpectedly I might add. Who adopts a baby for an employee? And who names a little girl Stan Van? It's not wildly subtle."