Jeff Van Gundy Rumors
Although Ewing’s supporters are thrilled to see him get his chance, there is something bittersweet about the way it all happened. Those who worked with Ewing, such as Jeff Van Gundy, say he deserved this shot long ago and that he deserved it in the NBA. The fact that he didn’t get it might boil down to prejudice and misunderstanding, boil down to the fact that Ewing is both African-American and 7 feet tall. “I don’t think it’s unfair to say (racism played a part),” Van Gundy said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Certainly, I think there’s some size bias involved. I think back when he played some of the things that were allowed, the signs, what was said. Even when I coached in the NBA, there were some columns written that were racially tinged in all areas. I mean, I think it’s a combination of things.”
Van Gundy said misperceptions of Ewing continued when he came to the Knicks. For example, Ewing liked to prepare for games by wearing headphones to block out distractions. “He would be getting ready to play in a serious-minded manner, and somehow that was taken by the media as an affront or aloofness versus someone who was serious about their job,” Van Gundy said. “I could never understand how seriousness about your job got portrayed as a negative.
Ewing has been an NBA assistant coach for 15 seasons and has increasingly become a viable NBA head-coaching candidate. Ewing has regularly coached the Hornets’ summer league team. Ewing has been an assistant under Jeff and Stan Van Gundy and Clifford, and all had significant conversations with Georgetown officials and the Korn Ferry search firm about their belief in Ewing’s potential as a head coach, league sources told The Vertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Jeff Van Gundy tells @The Vertical: “Pat’s personality has been misunderstood for so long that I can’t get wait for him to show the masses… his humor and intelligence and his core values when it comes to leadership.”