Following Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra’s record-breaking contract extension, his ex-wife, Nikki Sapp, faced online ridicule, prompting her to speak out on social media.
Coach’s lucrative deal: The Filipino American head coach, who led the Miami Heat to two NBA championships, signed a historic eight-year, $120 million contract extension, ESPN sources revealed on Wednesday. Spoelstra, who is currently in his 16th season as the organization’s head coach, started as a video coordinator before being promoted to a scout and an assistant coach. He was eventually named coach Pat Riley’s successor in 2008.
The deal makes Spoelstra the second-highest-paid coach
per season in the NBA, earning just behind Gregg Popovich’s $19 million.
Facing trolls: Sapp, 33, is a former Heat dancer with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design. She was married to Spoelstra for seven years before they finalized and announced their divorce in 2023. When news of Spoelstra’s lucrative deal emerged, she became the target of online trolling, with some netizens accusing her of “fumbling the bag.”
Sapp’s response: Sapp took to her Instagram Stories to address the negative comments, shedding light on the societal expectations placed on women. Sapp emphasized that women are often judged regardless of their choices, whether staying with a successful partner or choosing to part ways. She urged people to recognize the impact of their words on others and advocated for a more empathetic online environment.
“According to crass, ignorant, uninformed society at large, women can’t ‘win,’” Nikki wrote. “Women can’t be genuinely in love with someone successful. No, they’re pretending and they’re in it for the money. And if a woman chooses to not be with a successful partner, apparently she’s an idiot.”
Impact of extension’s timing: The timing of Erik Spoelstra’s contract extension raised eyebrows online as it came shortly after their divorce, although it remains unclear if it was intentional.
Sapp recently talked about the challenges of being a single parent during the latest episode of her podcast, “The Know with Nikki Spo.”
“It’s hard to balance all of it like working, having a business and being a single mom, sharing your children… I ask my kids all the time when they start to freak out and like lose their sh*t, I’m like guys ‘how many mommies is mommy. They’re like ‘one’, and I am like ‘exactly’. I always feel like someone’s getting the short end of the stick.”