SBD/Issue 179/Sports Media

People & Personalities: Van Gundy Praised As Premier NBA Analyst

Van Gundy Lauded For Chemistry
With Partners Breen, Jackson

In Boston, Chad Finn writes ESPN/ABC NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy is "arguably the premier in-game NBA analyst, deftly mixing a basketball lifer's insight with a quick and quirky sense of humor." When a foul by Magic C Dwight Howard was "changed to a flagrant-1" during Monday's Eastern Conference Finals Game Four, Van Gundy "offered his own take on the league's ubiquitous slogan, muttering, 'The NBA ... where soft happens,' a pitch-perfect piece of snark that surely thrilled commissioner David Stern." Van Gundy said that he has been told by ESPN that he "needs to 'celebrate the game' more, which seems like a misguided notion given the appeal of his usual approach and his genuine chemistry with play-by-play man Mike Breen and fellow analyst Mark Jackson." Meanwhile, when asked about his "objectivity" given that his brother Stan Van Gundy coaches the Magic, Jeff "counters by admitting that while he always wants his brother to win, he doesn't believe that clouds his analysis." Van Gundy noted that he has received "considerably more negative feedback from Orlando fans than Celtics fans" during the conference finals (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/28).

CONFLICTING JOBS? In N.Y., Richard Sandomir notes Fox NFL reporter Jay Glazer is an MMA trainer for some players, an arrangement that is "unusual, at best, and raises questions about how he balances his competing interests." Glazer "reports on some of the same players and teams who pay him for his training expertise." Fox, "which is pleased with his reporting and trusts him to stay objective, asked him to develop and co-host a weekly series on that features" MMAthletics, which Glazer runs with fighter Randy Couture. Fox Sports Media Group Vice Chair Ed Goren said that he was "not concerned about potential conflicts of interest arising from Glazer's overlapping careers." Goren: "Jay knows what his primary business is, and it's the business of journalism. If there's an issue, he's going to report it, whether it's about a friend or someone he doesn't know." Goren added that Glazer's MMA business is a "'part-time job' that does not impede his reporting" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/28).

FUTURE IN QUESTION: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes the "early odds" favor ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews, whose contract expires in July, "having a better future in the entertainment-reporting field" than at the net. Hoffarth: "In no time, she'll be going from Bristol, Conn., to tracking down Bristol Palin." N.Y. Daily News gossip columnist Joanna Molloy said Andrews "wants it both ways." Molloy: "She wants to be considered a journalist. She wants to be the observer, not the observed. But a journalist uncovers the facts, not her navel. Let's face it: Andrews is a sports sidelines reporter" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/28).

NOTES: ESPN announcer Ron Franklin "has signed a two-year deal" with the net that "includes a full round of football broadcasts and a slightly less extensive basketball schedule" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/28)....Sabres G Ryan Miller will serve as a guest analyst for NBC's broadcast of Saturday's Game One of the Flyers-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final. NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick will join analysts Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury for the remainder of the net's broadcasts of the series, beginning with Monday's Game Two (NBC). 

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