Stan Van Gundy rips ESPN over LaVar Ball coverage, threatens boycott
Stan Van Gundy has joined the growing number of NBA head coaches upset with ESPN’s frequent coverage of LaVar Ball by threatening to boycott the network’s broadcast crew during an upcoming Detroit Pistons game.
The Pistons are set to face the Washington Wizards in a Jan. 19 game slated to air on ESPN. Van Gundy indicated this week he may not conduct pregame and in-game interviews with the ESPN broadcast crew over a story published by ESPN in which the elder Ball, father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, criticized Lakers head coach Luke Walton.
Van Gundy called the article a “cheap (expletive),” according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I thought it was a cheap shot and I thought ESPN showed total disrespect,” Van Gundy said Monday. “I don’t have a problem with LaVar Ball. He’s a grown man. He can voice whatever opinion he wants. I got a problem with ESPN deciding that’s a story.”
Van Gundy indicated he sent an email concerning his planned boycott to Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, president of the NBA Coaches Association and also a critic of ESPN’s report. The NBCA, led by Carlisle, issued a statement on Monday concerning the Ball-Walton report. Van Gundy also indicated he contacted the NBA Players Association and NBA commissioner Adam Silver concerning his plans as well.
“I’m not meeting with their announcing crew before the game, I’m not doing the in-game interview,” Van Gundy said. “I’m not going to participate in the thing.
“… “I’m not denying them access. I’m not kicking them out of press conferences. They want extra stuff from us and they’re going to treat an NBA coach with that little respect? Then I’m going to choose not to give them extra access.”
Van Gundy was asked if the coaches taking a hard-line stance against the Ball-Walton article will inspire the NBA to address the issue.
“We’ll see what happens,” Van Gundy said. “What the league decided to do yesterday was put it on NBA.com.”