Blog Entry

David Stern blasts Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

Posted on: March 10, 2011 1:48 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 1:59 pm
NBA commissioner David Stern responds harshly to critical comments from Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. Posted by Ben Golliver. david-stern

You knew this was coming.

Back on Monday, we noted that Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was quite upset with his center Dwight Howard being suspended after receiving his 16th technical foul of the season, as Van Gundy believes Howard is a target of hard fouls and that the NBA referees are too quick with the whistle in handling Howard's responses. In the process, Van Gundy made a comment that he "certainly can't have an opinion because David Stern, like a lot of leaders we've seen in this world lately, don't really tolerate other people's opinions or free speech or anything." Van Gundy later clarified that he wasn't comparing Stern to any particular dictators, but the damage was done.

During an ESPN radio interview on Thursday (audio here), Stern shot back, and he shot back hard, implying that he was taking action against Van Gundy by speaking with his Magic superiors and that Van Gundy's frustration is borne out of his team's struggles. 

Here are some of Stern's comments via the Orlando Sentinel.
“I’m going to engage in a private discussions at this point with his franchise,” Stern said. “I actually am not going to talk to Stan Van Gundy. I’m going to talk to the ownership of the team.
“I see somebody whose team isn’t performing, whose star player is suspended, who seems to be fraying.

“I would venture a guess that we’re not going to be hearing from him for the rest of the season,” Stern said. “I think when he stops and reads what he said, realizes what he did, he will say no more. … I have a feeling some modicum of self-restraint will cause Stan, and the team for which he works, to rein in his aberrant behavior.”
Van Gundy's frustration is legitimate and has accumulated over the years, as Howard's issues with technicals are nothing new. While his criticism of Stern is factually true -- Stern has made it clear through statements and heavy fines that he does not want any public comments about his league's officiating and its policies -- it wasn't prudent and it was certain to anger the commissioner given the timing in relation to significant world affairs. 

Van Gundy either popped off without thinking (a distinct possibility) or he was ready to take a stand on this battlefield and suffer whatever repercussions would come his way. I tend to lean towards the former explanation, as Van Gundy did attempt to clarify that his remarks were not meant to compare Stern to leaders in Egypt and Libya. 

Stern doesn't often come across petty but his personal, direct attack on Van Gundy and the Magic was way too much, and it was absolutely beneath him as the league's commissioner. When cooler heads prevail, it seems fair to conclude that both sides will wish they could take back their most heated comments.

The worst part: the real thrust of Van Gundy's message, that Howard needs to be protected better even if he's one of the biggest and strongest players in the league, got totally lost in the shouting match.

Since: Dec 2, 2008
Posted on: March 10, 2011 8:01 pm

David Stern blasts Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

David Stern is way out of line here.  Basketball is a sport of monsterous men and women.  The average height of NBA players dwarfs the height of the average American or even the average human being for that matter.  There is no greater chance to dominate a sport than to be a giant among giants.  Dwight Howard, Shaquille O'Neal, Wilt Chamberlain, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Patrick Ewing, etc. were all extremely dominant.  They test and tested the rules of the game.  As players that were virtually impossible to stop, teams need to institute very physical play to prevent dominant centers from getting position and converting easy baskets.  Completely discrediting everything that Stan Van Gundy said makes David Stern look like a blind old blowhard.  Stern has to recognize that Dwight Howard is the recipient and dealer of some of the most physical play the NBA has to offer.  Acknowledging that Dwight is a giant even for NBA standards would be a smart move for Stern.

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: March 10, 2011 7:54 pm

David Stern blasts Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

David Stern is just a marauding midget lawyer with a Napoleon complex and no real since of fairness. He is the worst thing about the NBA in my opinion. How can any league justify fining someone for telling the truth? Who does it more than Stern? Why don't you writers have a story about this " David Stern is an egomanic of the highest order."? Or maybe "Why should David Stern stay in power if he can't be a fair leader? David Stern sucks. I would rather hear Latrell Sprewell speak to me about something basketball related because he has more credibility. David Stern is the one who is frayed not Stan Van. Stern simply sucks!

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 7:48 pm

David Stern blasts Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

Little weasel Stern speaks up because he is a Laker/Celtic cheerleader...Dwight Howard is the James Harrison of the NBA.  They hit him up on ticky tack technicals that they let go for most anyone else...

Since: Jan 31, 2009
Posted on: March 10, 2011 7:13 pm

David Stern blasts Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

What an insufferable douche David Stern is. As much as I dislike Bud Selig, he at leasts seems to appreciate the sport he represents and the people who play it. Stern on the other hand seems invested in jamming his beliefs down the throats of the people who pay his salary, and his smugness only magnifies his complete lack of respect for the game of professional basketball and the people who participate in it, ironically enough.

Instead of safely steering the ship, he's driving it directly into an iceberg whilst coming up with new and more sarcastic ways to blame everyone but himself for his obvious, massive shortcomings as commissioner.

In a word, suck it Stern. 

Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: March 10, 2011 6:55 pm

David Stern blasts Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

This seems so unlike David Stern.  He usually works behind the scenes and delegates tough stuff to his minions.  Must have hit a sore spot (referee incompetence).  I watch NBA basketball every night and can affirm that the officials may try hard but are not that great.  In fact, at times, I think I could officiate from my office (if replays were available) and do a better job.

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 6:54 pm

David Stern blasts Magic coach Stan Van Gundy


StanVan compared Stern to a murderous dictator... are you seriously saying that punishing him for that proves his point? Seriously...

NBA officiating is awful. Ticky-tack calls ruin the pace/flow of the game, blatent fouls go uncalled, and players flopping with no risk of punishment for doing so... it's a joke, and so is the NBA. But bad calls happen in every sport... they happen to every player... they happen to every team. Over the coarse of a season, they balance out. Bitching about regular season officiating is just childish.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 6:48 pm

David Stern blasts Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

Yeah I can see David Stern working a little Magic of his own to have Van Gundy blackballed from the NBA or at least fired from Orlando. What a great guy this Stern is. No he's not corrupt at all. He's just a little bit shady like Ted Bundy was.

Since: Feb 14, 2009
Posted on: March 10, 2011 6:40 pm

David Stern blasts Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

"In the process, Van Gundy made a comment that he 'certainly can't have an opinion because David Stern, like a lot of leaders we've seen in this world lately, don't really tolerate other people's opinions or free speech or anything.' "

The most ironic part of Stern's response was that it entirely proved Van Gundy's point: Namely, that Stern doesn't tolerate any opinion which is contrary to him or his referees. While I don't agree with Van Gundy's take on Howard specifically, in general it is absolutely accurate. The NBA routinely has referees completely hijack games, calling some fouls and not others, not making consistent calls, overcalling games to the point of absolute ridiculousness. There is no recourse for any teams or players when this happens, they just have to take it. If they speak out, they get fined. If players or coaches even take a second look at refs now, they get technicals.

Especially in the wake of Donaghy, the NBA should be looking to provide more transparency in its dealings with referees, and also making a point to put some sort of accountability on the refs. Instead, the NBA and Stern are making the referees and the league into some sort of clandestine partnership of which everyone is now suspicious. Too bad, because there are a lot of exciting players in the league (like Howard) who could be doing a lot more to entertain its consumers if they weren't saddled with vigilante referees calling whatever they want whenever they want.

Unless its the Celtics, in that case, please more fouls and suspensions.

Since: Jan 3, 2011
Posted on: March 10, 2011 6:24 pm

David Stern blasts Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

Since 2011 seems to be the international year of overthrow the dictator, it only makes sense that David Stern and his homo buddy Roger Goodell should be exiled to their own communist governed island.  Both are not only ruining the two best professional sports in America, but have egos larger than Charlie Sheen's.  In his prime, if Shaq could have made free throws, the NBA would have had to change the rules of the game.  Dwight isn't that good, but you would think that after this many years in the league he could at least hit somewhere in the neighborhood of 65%.  Stan has a legitimate beef, but the same treatment was given to all dominant big men who were poor at the line like Wilt, Artis, etc.  The league's all time leading scorer, Kareem, was a dominant big man who could hit 70% from the stripe.

Since: Apr 9, 2007
Posted on: March 10, 2011 6:05 pm

David Stern blasts Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

Well said.  Stern has made himself into a Goliath and Stan into David.  Everyone wants this domineering dictator to be slain (metaphorically).  The entire sports arena is becoming more and more suspect of being fixed and stern just makes it more obvious with his comments and threats.  I hope his superiors see that they need to bust him down the way he called for Stan's to get him.  Otherwise the NBA fanbase will be even more likely to just quit wasting their time.

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