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#pounditWednesday, April 24, 2024

Stan Van Gundy threatens ESPN over LaVar Ball stories

Stan Van Gundy

Several prominent members of the NBA community are furious with ESPN for giving LaVar Ball a forum to voice his controversial opinions, and one coach is threatening to make life more difficult for the network because of it.

On Monday, Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy called Ball’s criticism of Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton “cheap s—,” and he ripped ESPN for running it as a story.

“I thought it was a cheap shot and I thought ESPN showed total disrespect,” Van Gundy said, per Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. “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 said the NBA held meetings before the season where it was made clear that cable networks are league partners and coaches are expected to cooperate with them by giving on-air talent extra access and granting in-game interviews. Van Gundy said he is not planning to do any of that when ESPN televises his team’s game against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 19.

“I’m not meeting with their announcing crew before the game, I’m not doing the in-game interview,” the Pistons coach 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”

Ball said over the weekend that Lakers players have begun tuning out Walton and don’t want to play for him. One other coach called ESPN a “disgrace” for publishing the quotes, and there was a report that NBA coaches want reporters who interview Ball to have their credentials revoked.

There’s no question Ball is good for ratings and clicks, which is why ESPN continues to give him a voice. Steve Kerr had a good point when he compared Ball to the Kardashians and noted that publishing his comments is more of a societal problem than anything.

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