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[CHRON] Van Gundy's feisty stand puts city in his corner

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by J-Mode, May 5, 2005.

  1. J-Mode

    J-Mode Contributing Member

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    I feel somewhat responsible for this article. A couple days ago I sent Richard Justice an email about what a great article it would be to talk about the support Van Gundy has been getting from Houston after his tumultous start at the beginning of this season where the good he did in the first season was drowned out by "Fire JVG" chants, and nobody in Houston related to his New Yorker Knick background or his sour face... but now Houston loves him and supports him for standing up for Yao and the team. The Rockets team has taken on his personality and he is now one of our own. Go Rockets! Section 103 Represent!

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/3168422

    Van Gundy's feisty stand puts city in his corner
    By RICHARD JUSTICE
    Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

    He's sure to get the longest and loudest ovation at Toyota Center tonight. Never mind that he can't run, jump or shoot. Never mind that his next dunk will be his first.

    Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy didn't take the usual path from basketball coach to folk hero this week.

    He did it by standing up for one of his guys. He did it publicly, too, knowing he was tweaking one of the most powerful and thin-skinned men in sports — NBA Commissioner David Stern.

    And when challenged by Stern, he refused to back down. He turned basketball into a morality play, and along the way, came away looking dramatically different in the hearts and minds of many of this city's basketball fans.

    These are the same fans who hadn't known quite what to make of him.

    Meet the new boss — same as the old boss.

    For the last three days, Van Gundy has been showered with supportive e-mails, telephone calls and offers to pay the $100,000 fine slapped on him by Stern.

    The Chronicle has received hundreds of e-mails, the vast majority of them supportive of the coach. Someone sent a box of 100 Grand candy bars to Van Gundy's home.

    Some of this support surely comes from some of the same people who'd considered him something of a cold fish. They saw him a humorless outsider and a weak replacement for Rudy Tomjanovich.


    We've got his back
    Now he's our guy. He fought for us, and now we're standing behind him.

    He's a native New Yorker, but, at the moment, couldn't be any more of a Texan if he showed up with cream gravy on his tie and a Dan Jenkins novel under his arm.

    As for the man himself, he seems both dazed and amazed by the reaction.

    "That's why I love living here," he said Wednesday afternoon as the Rockets prepared to play Game 6 of a best-of-seven series against the Dallas Mavericks tonight. "People are genuine, they're nice, they're kind, they're compassionate."

    He declined the money offers, saying: "I had choices to make. I made 'em. I have to live with the choices."

    This is the same guy — or is it? — who was widely viewed with distrust during most of his first two seasons here.

    "I didn't mean to make myself the rallying point," he said.

    Too late.

    On Sunday, Van Gundy said an NBA referee whispered that officials had been ordered to keep a closer eye on Rockets center Yao Ming after complaints from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

    Van Gundy was furious that the complaints of one owner could lead to a directive against one player.

    And he said so. Stern countered with both the fine and a warning he might just throw Van Gundy out of the league altogether.

    Van Gundy's reputation in Houston seemed to change almost overnight.

    "The NBA ought to be ashamed and apologize to the Rockets, its fans and most of all coach Van Gundy," Rockets fan Kevin McCormack wrote to the Chronicle. "After all, all he did was speak the truth about an injustice."

    Another fan, Edwin Turner, added: "Rarely does an individual earn respect in this multi-national, multi-racial, disheveled and spray-painted community. Jeff Van Gundy, in having correctly defended his, and by proxy, ours, has earned a permanent place ... no, a home ... in Houston."


    Defiant coach stays mum
    During a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Van Gundy declined to discuss the fine or Stern's threats to take more action. With the Rockets trailing the series 3-2 and facing elimination, he attempted to steer the conversation back to basketball.

    "There's nothing gained by rehashing everything," he said.

    His players seem both amused and supportive.

    "He doesn't take crap from anyone," star forward Tracy McGrady said. "He's standing up for what he believes."

    Van Gundy's public image has been so gray because he has preferred it that way. He works 18-hour days in a windowless office, where he devours videotapes, M&Ms and Diet Coke.

    Pop culture isn't his thing, either. He recently referred to the television shrink as Dr. Fred.

    Yet as the Rockets have added players from other teams, they've all said pretty much the same thing.

    "He's the most prepared coach I've ever been around," guard Jon Barry said.

    Players say he has got a sense of humor, but they're more likely to remember the temper tantrums like the one he threw the morning after a sloppy loss in Chicago.

    "I had a meltdown," he said recently. "I didn't mean to get that angry, but the more we watched the tape, the madder I got. It was like an out-of-body experience."

    His sense of humor is dry. When a reporter quoted Yao as saying the Rockets would play like "an animal backed into a corner," Van Gundy smiled.

    "Going to the clichés, are we?" he said.

    He's an astonishing storehouse of information. If he says the Mavericks have made 53 percent of their 3-pointers from the left side of the court, then that's what they're shooting.

    He loves other sports, too. He collects NFL Films videotapes, especially those that deal with coaching. He was an occasional practice guest of Bill Parcells when both were New York coaches.

    He's a serious baseball fan, too, and sometimes will open an interview by saying: "What's Roger Clemens like?"

    His brother, Stan, coaches the Miami Heat, and their father, Bill, was a lifelong coach.


    'It's a decorum issue'
    When Jeff Van Gundy was asked why he never shows emotion on the sideline, he said: "I think that's the product of being a coach's son. It's a decorum issue. If you celebrate, it's almost like taunting the other coach."

    That outward calm belies his competitive fires. He's the guy who came up with the nickname "Big Chief Triangle," for Phil Jackson, whom he apparently sees as a bit too full of himself.

    During last season's Rockets-Lakers playoff series, he loudly cursed Jackson at one point.

    Asked about it later, he said: "He told me to sit down. I didn't think that was his place to tell me when or where to sit."

    These days, he can sit almost anyplace he wants in Houston.

    richard.justice@chron.com

    :D :D
     
  2. wakkoman

    wakkoman Contributing Member

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    JVG is the man!
     
  3. Cohen

    Cohen Contributing Member

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    Stern is too stern and Justice does justice.
     
  4. Chuck04

    Chuck04 Member

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    Maximum respect for the Gundy-meister. Go Jeff, you do what you have to do!
     
  5. Uprising

    Uprising Contributing Member

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    Down with the Mavs.

    [me] stands up and yells for JVG[/me]
     
  6. Himalayas

    Himalayas Contributing Member

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    wow, Jeff!
     
  7. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    Good article. Go JVG!
     
  8. Aceshigh7

    Aceshigh7 Contributing Member

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    I thought Van Gundy was from California?

    Doesn't matter. He's our guy and a hell of a coach!
     
  9. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!

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    Yep,


    After wanting him gone, I am firmly in his corner.

    DD
     
  10. Sooner423

    Sooner423 Contributing Member

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    Freaking Hilarious :D
     
  11. Truth

    Truth Member

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    Jeff Van Gundy *Clap Clap, Clap Clap Clap* [repeats 10 times]


    Join in.
     
  12. oldgunrules

    oldgunrules Member

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    So, are we still mad about JVG never getting a technical on the sideline? Here goes the biggest technical and one that will surely make an impact on calls made on Yao. Talk about a real fighter :eek:
     
  13. Davidoff

    Davidoff Contributing Member

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    Thats CRAP.. JVG can do all of those things and he CAN dunk still... still a good read though..
     
  14. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    Love him.
     
  15. Oski2005

    Oski2005 Contributing Member

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    Great article, but I have to say:

    "I feel somewhat responsible for this article."

    "The Chronicle has received hundreds of e-mails"

    Hope you didn't hurt your hand while patting yourself on the back there chief.;)
     
  16. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Contributing Member

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    Guys, I don't understand: so did the City of Houston officially declare today to be JVG day?

    I think someone said that in another thread, just wanted to confirm

    And lucky JVG, he will be eating free anywhere he goes for the next few weeks.
     
  17. jmftexas

    jmftexas Member

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    We got your back Jeff, now let's go beat the hell out of the mavs.
     
  18. wouldabeen23

    wouldabeen23 Contributing Member

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    Yo..CHECK IT...

    *RESPECK*

    Boo-ya-sha-ka to my MAIN Man..Da Boss-Man of Da Hooston Rockets
     
  19. SwoLy-D

    SwoLy-D Contributing Member

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    Mr. Alexander and Mr. Dawson, How SOON can we get Mr. Buffer here tonight???

    [​IMG]

    And in THIS bench... your coach... el gran campeon De Los Rockets... [points at bench with card]
    Llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllet's get ready for GUN-Dyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!
     
  20. YallMean

    YallMean Member

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    Now, it's up to the Rockets player to back up JVG. If they play like fire, the respect will be huge, but if they come up small, we will be billed as cry baby. Forget the talk, let's walk the walk, get it done!
     

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