Although the rest of us are tuned in to ESPN’s docu-series The Last Dance, former Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy has no interest in watching the film.
ESPN’s docu-series The Last Dance has been a major success, to say the least, as it’s averaged 5.6 million views through the first eight episodes. It’s re-visited basketball controversies from the ’90s, such as Isiah Thomas‘ walk off, and it’s caused many Houston Rockets players from the championship teams to state their case of why the Rockets would’ve beat Michael Jordan‘s Chicago Bulls teams.
It’s also brought out the emotional side of the ultra-competitive Michael Jordan, while also outlining the triumphs and tragedies many of the younger basketball fans may have been too young to witness. There have even been prop bets hedged on what the last two episodes will entail, which is an entirely different conversation.
But not everyone has been watching it, such as Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, whose childhood Cleveland Cavaliers consistently ran up against Jordan in the NBA playoffs. Although it raised eyebrows when Morey said that he hadn’t been watching, he’s not the only one. On Wednesday, former Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy revealed that he’s also not been watching the docu-series.
Van Gundy was on the Sean Salisbury Show on SportsTalk 790 and gave the following response when asked if he’s been watching The Last Dance:
“I have not, I’ve heard it’s very good. I lived it during that time, so I don’t feel the need to re-visit it. But Jordan was an incredible competitor, player, and I’m glad that the young people in particular get to see some game footage of just how great he was.”
Van Gundy’s reasoning is quite similar to Morey’s, as they each witnessed Jordan’s reign at their own expense. Morey was a Cleveland Cavaliers fan and they were eliminated by Jordan’s Bulls in five separate postseasons.
Van Gundy was an assistant coach with the New York Knicks from 1989-90 through 1995-96. During that time, the Knicks were eliminated by the Bulls in three consecutive postseasons, from the 1991 playoffs through the 1993 playoffs. In the 1990-91 season, the Knicks were swept in the first round, but the next two trips were heart-breaking defeats.
In the 1991-92 season, the Bulls outlasted the Knicks within seven games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. In the 1992-93 season, the Knicks won 60 games but were defeated within six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
It wasn’t until the 1993-94 season that they were able to advance past Chicago, as they made it to the NBA Finals before being defeated by the Houston Rockets for the Rockets’ first title in franchise history. With 23 games left in the 1995-96 season, the Knicks fired Don Nelson and promoted Van Gundy.
This was a surprising move, as the Knicks were 34-25 at the time, which was the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference. JVG and his Knicks ran up against Jordan in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but ultimately were defeated within five games.
All in all, it’s safe to say Van Gundy is all too familiar the Bulls’ championship runs, and he certainly knows about the greatness of Jordan. From that standpoint, he doesn’t need to watch 10 hours of footage, and it would probably lead to painful memories for him also.