If you’re a longtime basketball fan, you’re probably pretty well acquainted with Stan Van Gundy. The mustachioed man made a name for himself on the sidelines, plying his trade as an NCAA and NBA coach; he’s also worked in the media, breaking down the game for ESPN and Tuner at various points. Ahead of the NBA Finals, however, Van Gundy had something else on his mind: Donald Trump.
The night before the 2020 NBA Finals tipped off, politics took center stage. As people around the globe tuned in to see Donald Trump and Joe Biden debate, Stan Van Gundy took to Twitter to share his takes.
Stan Van Gundy’s long and winding basketball career
In modern sports, few players spent their entire careers with one organization. Stan Van Gundy may have been a coach, but he still experienced his fair share of moves over the years.
After playing D-III basketball for his father at SUNY-Brockport, Stan began his coaching career. He started out as an assistant coach on the University of Vermont staff; he then took over as Castleton University’s head coach before heading to Canisius and Fordham, spending a season at each school as an assistant.
After a bit more time in the NCAA ranks—he also coached at UMass Lowell and Wisconsin—Van Gundy got his first taste of NBA action in 1995. He joined the Miami Heat organization and spent eight seasons as an assistant; Stan eventually took over as head coach but resigned 21 games into his third year on the job.
In 2007, Van Gundy took charge of the Orlando Magic. He spent almost five full seasons with the club but ultimately got the ax after clashing with Dwight Howard. He most recently served as the Detroit Piston’s head coach and president of basketball operations; while Van Gundy helped stabilize the floundering franchise, he simply couldn’t win enough games to keep his job.
Taking aim at Donald Trump on Twitter
With the NBA Finals on the horizon, you might think that Stan Van Gundy would be pouring over his notes and studying film on the Lakers and Heat. On Tuesday night, however, the coach apparently had different plans.
Based on his Twitter feed, Van Gundy spent the evening watching the first United States presidential debate; the coach also took to Twitter to share his reactions; he resumed his social media posts early on Wednesday morning. Virtually all of them were critical of Donald Trump.
“People who want to say we are the greatest country on earth how do you explain this ridiculous debate,” Van Gundy wondered during the broadcast. “Junior high kids in an argument behave better and more professionally than Trump. He is a child!”
If that tweet didn’t make the former coach’s views apparent, he shared his final sentiments after the dust had settled for the night.
“Two final thoughts of the night,” he concluded. “First, if you are a Democrat and weren’t already committed to doing everything possible with your money and your time over the next 5 weeks to defeat Donald Trump, you should be now. Second, no more debates. Enough of Trump’s b——t”.
Stan Van Gundy isn’t the only NBA coach to call out Donald Trump
If you follow Stan Van Gundy on Twitter, you know that he has no problem criticizing Donald Trump. He isn’t the only NBA coach to take aim at the Oval Office, though.
In the past, Gregg Popovich has openly criticized both Trump and other Republican politicians; Steve Kerr, who played for Popovich in San Antonio and now coaches the Golden State Warriors, has also refused to stick to sports. While Doc Rivers is no longer the Clippers head coach, he used some of his media availability inside the NBA bubble to discuss voter suppression.
Come Wednesday night, basketball fans everywhere will turn their focus to the NBA Finals. Based on his social media history, though, Stan Van Gundy still won’t turn a blind eye to politics.