Jeff Van Gundy May 20, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; ESPN commentator Jeff Van Gundy during game three of the Western Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Van Gundy has made some strange comments over the years, but touting vampire-like tendencies during Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night may have been the strangest.

Late in the first half, Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić was fouled as he wrestled Miami’s Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry for a rebound. With Van Gundy noting it was actually both players who fouled Jokić, play-by-play voice Mike Breen jokingly asked whether that means the NBA should consider instituting half-fouls.

“No. I’ve had enough stupid things I’ve said in the last week,” Van Gundy quickly answered with a chuckle, vowing not to say anything rash or controversial.

Breen then noted one of the players began bleeding after the foul, explaining why officials were giving the training staff extra time to clean it up. Immediately after Van Gundy expressed his desire to avoid saying anything that could be construed as unwise, he decided to share some wisdom upon learning there was blood on the court.

“I played for a coach at Menlo Junior College named Bud Presley,” Van Gundy recalled. “An unbelievable coach. He had the greatest quote. ‘Blood cleanses the soul.’ That’s what everybody’s gotta think about. A little contact, a little blood, it’s good for you!”

Maybe Van Gundy really likes vampires, or maybe he just thinks the modern NBA is soft. Probably the latter. This is an analyst who once blasted “the sissification of the game” after questioning a flagrant foul call. Van Gundy’s also a former NBA coach who took a headbutt from Marcus Camby and hilariously attempted to wrestle Alonzo Mourning during an infamous brawl between the Knicks and Heat.

At the time, fans probably assumed the NBA coach was just a fierce competitor as they watched him tangle with players twice his size. But now we know, Van Gundy was out for blood. Blood to cleanse his soul.


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