Beloved NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy has been laid off by ESPN just before the long July 4 holiday weekend as a cost-cutting measure, confirmed by multiple sources.
The 61-year-old analyst has been part of ESPN since 2007 and, for 16 years, has called the longtime NBA Finals broadcast alongside co-analyst Mark Jackson and play-by-player Mike Breen. The network’s cost-cutting is expected to have around 20 on-air layoffs, according to the New York Post. And even though Van Gundy’s exact salary is unknown, he made millions.
Although he has declined to comment, his team has confirmed that he was part of the layoffs to The Athletic. His tenure at ESPN ended just before hitting a hundred NBA Finals games milestone.
According to reports, additional cuts include Jalen Rose, a former NBA player and current studio analyst. Since 2012, Rose has been a member of ESPN and ABC‘s NBA pregame show, NBA Countdown. His affiliation with ESPN began in 2007 when he joined the network.
Van Gundy consistently expresses his opinions about the NBA, particularly its officiating, while maintaining a calm and composed on-air presence. This enables him to delve deep into the game analysis while injecting humor with his occasionally unconventional observations.
ESPN is anticipated to appoint a replacement for Van Gundy on its top broadcasting team. Among the potential internal candidates, JJ Redick, Doris Burke, and Richard Jefferson appear to be the frontrunners for the position.
NBA fans, who have developed a strong affection for the Breen/Van Gundy/Jackson trio over the years, were greatly taken aback by this revelation. On social media, fans expressed both their disappointment and gratitude for Van Gundy’s contributions to the microphone throughout the years, especially his fearlessness in criticizing referees for questionable calls.
Folks online are already pushing for Van Gundy to join TNT’s Inside the NBA set with Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. Check out some of the reactions below.
I reached out to Van Gundy after Andrew’s newsbreak.
The report is accurate. He’s declining comment for now.
Van Gundy had time left on his contract. It’s a terrible decision IMO given he’s become one of the essential NBA game analysts in history. https://t.co/UaP4ZJWGuT
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) June 30, 2023
The fact that we will never see this duo do a broadcast ever again is heartbreaking.
Endless memories and content from tandem of Breen and Van Gundy❤️ pic.twitter.com/0FzEiK8tpZ
— Jake Brown (@JakeBrownNBA) June 30, 2023
Van Gundy getting distracted by Rihanna during a finals game might be the funniest thing an announcer has ever done
— kyle (@knicks_tape99) June 30, 2023
Everyone looking at the ESPN executives who decided to let go of Jalen Rose and Jeff Van Gundy to keep Mark Jackson and Kendrick Perkins… pic.twitter.com/XMoCSRzkJW
— alex (@AlexUlrichh) June 30, 2023
Whoa! I not only enjoyed the commentary, but dug that each one represented a different aspect of the Knicks (coach, player, announcer). It fed into the chemistry. End of an era.
Jeff Van Gundy let go as one of ESPN’s big-name layoffs https://t.co/GaKqE3eFt0 via @nypostsports
— Jeffrey L. Wilson (@jeffreylwilson) June 30, 2023
ESPN has no idea what it is doing with nba coverage.
— John Silver (@JohnFSilver) June 30, 2023
Weak. Bad move by ESPN. Van Gundy called out some of the nonsense and made the games better. TNT should bring him on their studio show with Barkley, Kenny and Ernie. I could do without Shaq https://t.co/0kcNcyYvil
— Mike Catalana (@MikeCatalana) June 30, 2023