Erik Spoelstra’s Ex-Wife Nikki Expresses “Love” for Shaquille O’Neal As He Comes in Handy for Her Kids

Published 01/27/2024, 12:57 PM EST

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High-profile divorces aren’t uncommon in the NBA. The nature of the league and the fandom surrounding it puts every relationship under a microscope and whether they like it or not, players and coaches both have to deal with it as a result. Shaquille O’Neal has himself dealt with this previously as he went through a public divorce with Shaunie O’Neal while still an active player in the spotlight. Not unlike him, the current head coach of his former team, the Miami Heat Erik Spoelstra too, went through a divorce with his ex-wife Nikki last year.

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However, as coincidence would have it, Erick became the richest head coach in the league shortly after he went through finalizing the divorce proceedings. He signed a $120 Million extension with Miami, as Shaq pointed the coincidence out. In turn, Nikki had nothing but “love” for the former MVP and expressed it on social media.

On her recent Instagram story, she thanked the legendary big man for his ‘Shaq’ branded basketball, which her kids seem to enjoy very much. In the story, she poses with her sons with a yellow basketball in the background, writing, “We love Shaq he’s the nicest.” Now the whole scenario might seem odd but there is context to her seemingly harmless expression.

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Shaquille O’Neal’s comments on the Spoelstras’s divorce

Shaq recently commented on Erik Spoelstra’s contract extension, suggesting that the Miami Heat may have strategically timed the announcement to coincide with Spoelstra’s recent divorce. Shaq humorously implied that Spoelstra’s ex-wife, Nikki Sapp, won’t be benefiting from his new contract. “So apparently Erik Spoelstra has been going through a divorce, so his divorce got final and a couple of days later they [Miami Heat] made him one of the highest paid NBA coaches ever. … I don’t think they did that on purpose, but if they did, that’s a hell of a chess move,” said the former NBA Champion.

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Sapp and Spoelstra both met through Maimi, as she was a Miami Heat Dancer. They both share three kids, Santiago, Dante, and Ruby. They tied the Knot in 2016 and then parted ways in 2023. However, it looks like the Miami Heat pulled one from under her for their beloved Coach Spo.

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Do you think Shaq was right about the Heat’s move? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

WATCH THIS STORY – Joe Rogan Says Exactly How He Felt After Meeting Shaquille O’Neal at Fear Factor

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Written by:

Akashdeep Banerjee

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Akashdeep Banerjee is an NBA writer at Essentially Sports. After Graduating in Journalism and Mass Communication he forayed into visual Media. A fan of the NBA for the better part of a decade.
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