Jeff Van Gundy Mar 12, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; ESPN commentator Jeff Van Gundy during the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Some broadcasters spend time together to build chemistry. Jeff Van Gundy shared a car with Ryan Ruocco and walked away wanting to choke him. Yikes.

Van Gundy was a guest on The Michael Kay Show this week and the former New York Knicks coach was asked about calling NBA games with Kay’s protégé, Ryan Ruocco, on ESPN. More specifically, Van Gundy was asked about dealing with Ruocco’s vocal exercise routine.

“I gotta say, the first time I worked with Ryan…I had a rental car and I was driving us to the airport to try to catch our flight out,” Van Gundy began. “He goes ‘Do you mind if I do my vocal exercises?’ I had no idea what he’s talking about. We might be in the same business, but he’s young, I’m old. I have no idea what he’s talking about.”

Recognizing they were confined to the small space of a rental car, it was considerate of Ruocco to ask Van Gundy for permission to get a jumpstart on his game prep. After granting that permission, Van Gundy recalls Ruocco beginning his routine with some tongue trills.

“I’m like, ‘What the hell is this guy doing?’ And this was going on for four or five minutes,” Van Gundy claimed on The Michael Kay Show. “He’s drinking his hot tea and he’s gargling and he’s giving himself a throat massage. I wanted to choke him by the end of that car ride…I was going to go at him. When he starts to warm up now, I leave the room. I’ve learned to do that, but that car ride, that was one in a million.”

And if you think Van Gundy was kidding, here’s a refresher on what he did to Alonzo Mourning once upon a time.

There was also the time Van Gundy took a punch from his own player Marcus Camby. The guy is not afraid to get physical. So, if you’re a broadcaster who requires some tea and tongue trills, don’t forget to start your exercises with a quick check over your shoulder to ensure Van Gundy is nowhere near.

[The Michael Kay Show, Barrett Sports Media]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to