Van Gundy provides insight from his coaching days with the New York Knicks to insight on Xs and Os and is not afraid to speak his mind. To be successful in those roles an analyst must be willing to say what he thinks. He must be fearless, and comfortable in ripping the other coaches, the refs, the other players, and people that may be his friends.
Van Gundy does all of the above, and adds personality and pop to an NBA telecast on ESPN. He is one of the best, if not the best, color analyst on national NBA telecasts.
On Wednesday night, Van Gundy had the call on the Dallas Mavericks’ highly anticipated game against the Los Angeles Clippers, which marked the return of DeAndre Jordan to the team he stiffed over the summer.
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As expected, Mavs fans opened up on DJ with boos from the first moment he touched the floor at the American Airlines Center. Every time he touched the ball, he heard about it.
“It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting,” Jordan said after the Mavs won, 118-108.
The level of anger directed at Jordan was appropriate - just boos, and funny signs. No one punched anybody. No batteries were thrown. No beer tossed on the floor at Jordan while he missed more free throws. Boos for a guy that said yes to the Mavs before his silence meant no.
“I would also like the Dallas fans to acknowledge the sheer lunacy and absurdity that they’re booing DeAndre Jordan tonight, and they’ll be cheering someone like Greg Hardy on Sunday. That, to me, is absurd. All this guy did was change his mind.”
Bravo Jeff Van Gundy for dropping a line that caused a viral sensation. Mission accomplished.
Boo Jeff Van Gundy for drawing any comparison between Mavs’ fans booing DeAndre Jordan and cheering Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, who simply cannot stay out of the spotlight, or whether he is sorry for his past behaviors or innocent.
In a sports’ sense, Mavs fans should absolutely boo Jordan after what he did to them this summer. Yes, all DJ did was change his mind but the guy toyed with this franchise, and changed its direction with his indecision. That merits a good sports booing. He earned it.
As to cheering Greg Hardy - that is a complex issue. It is to differ the act of cheering for a big play for your favorite team from a guy that you do not support for criminal off-the-field behavior.
On Wednesday night, there were no such issues. It was just about sports. And Jordan had it coming.