It can be a curse as well, Jon said, and sometimes he sees it in the fatigue in Erik’s face.
“He gets so focused I’m not sure he knew Osama Bin Laden was dead,” Jon said. “I know he knows [Barack] Obama is president but only because he visited the White House.”
If Erik hadn’t chosen coaching, Jon believes he would be an entrepreneur, “facing failure multiple times but breathing life into something.”
He’s gratified that Erik found his calling in an intense culture “where you are measured every day.” Erik is the first coach of Asian descent to win an NBA title and first Filipino-American head coach in any major North American sports league.
Jon will be watching Game 5 on Sunday and in Miami for Game 6 on Tuesday. Erik’s mother will not. She doesn’t watch Heat games and she doesn’t fly. She felt she jinxed Erik by attending the 2011 Finals, when the Heat lost to Dallas.
“When I watch games on TV at home, she’s at the other end of the house, doing laundry or something, and I text her when it’s safe to watch,” Jon said. “That usually means the Heat has a 20-point lead with two minutes to go, so she’s seen more of Joel Anthony than LeBron James.”
Jon won’t see much of Erik as the Finals reach their climax. He doesn’t want to intrude. He’s never even met any Heat players. But Jon’s presence will be felt — in every detail of Erik’s preparation, during his persuasive huddle pep talks. Erik will be working and selling as much as he’ll be coaching. The example set in Portland will be followed in Miami. Like father, like son.