LeBron James says Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks helped Miami reach new heights

Chip Kelly and the NBA is like a puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit.

But Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was able to put a round peg in a square hole as LeBron James said.

According to the NBA legend and future Hall of Famer, Spoelstra, a Portland native and Jesuit High School graduate, took a page out of Chip Kelly’s book when he was with the Oregon Ducks, and used philosophies in Kelly’s spread offense to help unlock a new level with the Heat at the start of their title run.

James said in a recent interview that Spoelstra came back to his home state and studied Kelly’s spread offense that changed the landscape of college football back in 2011.

“Spo is the reason why we were a better team, and our team was assembled more properly,” James told J.J. Reddick on a recent episode of Uninterrupted. “That summer, he went to Oregon and hung out with Chip Kelly, and learned the spread offense.”

Miami lost to Dallas in the previous season and James said Spoelstra’s goal was to study the Ducks’ spread offense and translate that to the professional basketball game. At this point in time Oregon was having great success on the field, having just made it to the national championship game against Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers, and Kelly’s offense was changing the landscape of college football.

Spoelstra hoped to glean some of the tricks from that, and translate them to the basketball court.

“I don’t know the super conversations that he and Chip had,” LeBron said. “But when he came back to us, he knew that in order for us to reach our potential, for one, I had to be *expletive* ten times better than I was in that previous June Finals. But Chris Bosh had to go to the 5, and had to start working on his corner three.”

Moving Bosh out of the paint allowed James to drive more to the hoop for easy buckets, get fouled, or both. This spread the floor in a way that allowed playmakers space to move and cut without the ball, much like Kelly’s offense opened up running lanes for the likes of LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, and De’Andthony Thomas.

The strategy also worked for Miami, as they went on to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder for the championship the following season, and repeated the next year against the San Antonio Spurs.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire