21st April 00:14
Van Gundy asked to be taken off NBA Finals.
ABC NBA ****yst Jeff Van Gundy will have a clear, obvious conflict of
interest during the network's coverage of the 2009 NBA Finals.
Van Gundy says he wants the Orlando Magic -- coached by his brother,
Stan -- to win the NBA Finals. With that in mind, Van Gundy went to
higher-ups and asked if he should be taken off ABC's NBA Finals
coverage. "I certainly don't want to compromise anything," Van Gundy
recalled telling his producer, in an interview with Newsday. In a
separate USA Today piece, Van Gundy said he would have "no problems if
they wanted to take me off games and put me in the studio or take me
ABC evidently has no problem with Van Gundy's lack of objectivity, as
the team of Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Mike Breen will call the NBA
Finals for the third consecutive year.
Van Gundy says he will try to be "as objective as possible," and will
even make concessions such as "[skipping] pregame talks with the
This is not the first time a broadcaster has called games involving a
relative. FOX NASCAR ****yst Darrell Waltrip called his brother
Michael Waltrip's win at the '01 Daytona 500, Bret Boone was in the
booth when his brother Aaron hit a walk-off, series-clinching home run
in the '03 ALCS, and ESPN/ABC ****yst Bill Walton has called NBA
Playoff games involving his son, Luke.
Van Gundy acknowledges that he was "uncomfortable with Bill Walton
when he was doing Luke Walton's games."
Perhaps Van Gundy's nerves may create more of a problem than his
objectivity. In a Los Angeles Times piece earlier last month, Van
Gundy said that he would be "in the fetal position underneath the
desk," if he had to call an NBA Finals involving the Magic. "I hope it
comes to that, but you probably won't see me. I will be cowering,