Most former coaches and players find it hard to make the transition from the field to the analyst chair, mainly because of current and former connections in the league. Most former players don’t want to trash former teammates, and most former coaches don’t want to burn any bridges to future coaching positions. Well one of the ones who doesn’t seem to care is Jeff Van Gundy, and he spoke about this and other media matters, to the Wall Street Journal recently….
WSJ: You were a head NBA coach and you have said you would be interested in coaching again. How tricky it is to be candid as a broadcaster when you could be talking about future employers?
Mr. Van Gundy: I don’t really think about that kind of stuff. I try just to worry about what I’m doing right now. I try to be fair. I think that is the hardest balance — trying to be candid and trying to be fair. That is what I shoot for. I have probably missed a few times, but I don’t really worry about how it may impact me as far as coaching down the road.
WSJ: Dwight Howard called out the head coach of the Orlando Magic at one point during the playoffs. The head coach of the Magic is, of course, your brother. You have been doing the Western Conference games and so you weren’t covering him, but it must come up. How do you deal with this?
Mr. Van Gundy: It is all fair game. My problem with the national media, in general, is that 90% of them, instead of studying an issue, run to the player’s defense. In this case, they were very critical of my brother for Howard taking just 10 shots in Game 5. But where is the outcry when Howard took just nine shots in Game 7, which the Magic won in a blowout? That is one way that the national media is very unfair.
It’s refreshing to hear someone actually come out and say that. The reason people don’t respond to former coaches in the booth, is because they’re so afraid to say something bad, that they don’t say anything at all. Good for JVG to call out the rest of his brethren in a roundabout way.
Questions for: Jeff Van Gundy (Wall Street Journal)