I really like Jeff Van Gundy on ESPN/ABC. I think he's witty, knows the game of Basketball and works well with Breen and Jackson. I've had some issues with his comedic timing in the past, but each year he gets better. That's why I thought that his issues with his brother being in the Finals wouldn't be a problem. Boy, was I wrong.
Richard Sandomir, of the NY Times, talked with Breen following the Lakers Game Five win, and the play-by-play man all but said that JVG was depressed during the whole broadcast....
“I think this was harder for him than he thought it would be,” said Mike Breen, whose command as the play-by-play voice of the finals continues to grow. “This was uncharted waters. I didn’t know how he would do it.”While I understand the ties to your family, there is still a job that you have to do, and I thought Van Gundy would realize that. Instead, he sulked and was audibly missing from the broadcast during the fourth quarter of Game Five. As Sandomir pointed out, he could have been analyzing what changes his brother could/should be making, but instead he checked out. Obviously the chances of this scenario happening again are unlikely, but ABC should really consider benching JVG if it does again.
You sensed Jeff’s reticence in his silence at tough moments for the Magic during Game 5.
“Will they fold their tent or fight?” asked Mark Jackson, Van Gundy’s partner in analysis. (Jeff said nothing.)
“Anxious moments at Amway Arena,” Breen said, as the camera cut to a shot of Stan. (Jeff said nothing.)
“At one point, during an incredible Lakers roll, maybe in Game 1,” Breen said during a telephone interview Monday, “I was making some loud, juiced-up calls about some Lakers baskets. I saw him sitting next to me, and he’s down. His brother’s team is getting shellacked. I hated to sound so enthused, and I told him I was sorry. He’s a longtime friend, he’s my partner, and you feel for what he’s going through.”
ABC’s Van Gundy Remained Mum About His Brother (NY Times)