The story for Stan Van Gundy and ESPN goes a little something like this. Van Gundy, thought he had a job, joining the NBA Countdown team of analysts. However, ESPN later said the following to The Big Lead:
“We had discussions with Stan Van Gundy and were interested in a role for him at ESPN. Ultimately, we differed on potential assignments and we moved in another direction.”
Well, Van Gundy didn’t quite remember it that way and explained his side of the story to Dan LeBatard on his radio show in Miami, saying the following:
“No one at ESPN will tell us what happened. Certainly the NBA office isn’t going to tell us what happened. One of the quotes from ESPN in there – we had discussions, but couldn’t agree on a role … as is usual, that’s a bunch of BS from ESPN.
We actually did agree on a role, but then they came back and pulled that. That’s when we knew something was up.
Nobody is going to give a straight answer because … that’s just the way a lot of people operate … nobody there has the guts to say anything, so that’s what you deal with.
What I find fascinating … you have to give David Stern and the NBA a lot of credit … ESPN pays the league, and then the league tells them what to do. It’s more ESPN’s problem. You gotta have no balls whatsoever to pay someone hundreds of millions of dollars and let them run your business.
Just say what happened. Who cares? Who cares if I’m on there or not. Just come out and say this is what we decided and why … [ESPN’s quote] that’s just a flat out lie. Why would you do that? I don’t understand. We agreed on something, you changed your mind and pulled the offer. Don’t say we couldn’t come to an agreement. We did.”
I love Van Gundy’s candid attitude and fearlessness in speaking his mind, which is probably something Stern didn’t want happening on ESPN, if in fact the conspiracy theory is correct. Also, there’s a history of tension and seemingly ill will between both Van Gundy and Stern, so it certainly all makes sense, but who can say for sure except for ESPN. Naturally, they’re not going to say anything about this bit of collusion for as long as possible, if at all. I’m sure Van Gundy will end up somewhere speaking his mind, especially now with this bit of motivation.
(H/T to The Big Lead)