LeBron James guarding Jeff Van Gundy Photo credit: Ben Golliver

Watching Jeff Van Gundy prepare LeBron James and Team USA for the Paris Olympics, it’s fair to wonder whether broadcasting can compete with his love for coaching again.

A video went viral earlier this week of Van Gundy taking part in drills during training camp for the United States men’s national basketball team as the 62-year-old, 5 foot 9 inches tall former NBA coach was guarded by LeBron. And now that he’s back on the court with the world’s best basketball players, is Van Gundy finished broadcasting?

This is a person who wrestled with Alonzo Mourning and took an accidental punch from Marcus Camby during his time as head coach of the New York Knicks. His pivot to broadcasting always felt like a rest stop in his love for coaching basketball. Instead, that rest stop lasted 16 years, only ending because ESPN said it was time for it to end. ESPN moved on from Van Gundy last summer amid a round of layoffs, reportedly because of his coaching interests. The decision left ESPN with egg on their face after Doc Rivers and JJ Redick both departed their top booth for coaching opportunities.

Van Gundy is a good basketball coach, but he was arguably the best analyst in the NBA. With NBC and Amazon acquiring NBA media rights, Van Gundy will undoubtedly have offers to call games again if he wants them.

But that’s a big if. Van Gundy went on several coaching interviews during his time at ESPN and they never amounted to a job offer. After getting let go by ESPN, however, Van Gundy grabbed a job in the Boston Celtics front office, giving him his first NBA championship ring. That led to Van Gundy taking an assistant coaching job with the Los Angeles Clippers under his friend and Team USA colleague Ty Lue.

A front office position with the Celtics and an assistant coaching gig with the Clippers probably aren’t jobs Van Gundy would have left ESPN for a few years ago. But now that he’s gotten a taste of being part of an NBA team again, how much more will it take to lure Van Gundy back to the booth?

[Ben Golliver]

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 bcontes@thecomeback.com