May 04, 2005
Van Gundy feels the love

Well, at least Rockets owner Les Alexander is standing by his man, at least within the bounds of Commissioner Stern's temper.

"He's a tough guy," Alexander, the Rockets' owner, said admiringly. "He's always willing to battle as hard as he can. That's why the city loves him."


"My concern is that I don't want to say anything that might cause more problems," Alexander said, also declining to discuss his conversation with Stern. "I called Jeff. In no way were his any of his actions meant to impugn the ethics of the league. He was making the point that big men in the league, all big men, are not treated the same way as smaller players.

"I've been associated with Jeff for almost two years. I have never known him to be anything other than completely honest. He said he didn't do it to impugn anyone at the league and I believe him 100 percent."

What will Alexander do if Stern really puts the squeeze on Van Gundy to name his "anonymous" source that supposedly tipped him to the anti-Yao officiating?

When asked his reaction to Stern's anger, threat and apparent determination to uncover Van Gundy's source, Alexander would not comment.

Asked if he would advise Van Gundy to show more contrition about his comments, Alexander said, "If that is something I would do, I would not advise him in the newspaper."

I'm pretty sure Alexander won't let David Stern fire his coach. Look for Van Gundy to find some kind of face-saving weasel words real soon now to get out from under the Commish's thumb.

In the meantime, at least JVG doesn't have to worry about his cash flow.

First, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming offered to pick up half of coach Jeff Van Gundy's $100,000 fine from the NBA.

Now, Gallery Furniture store owner Jim McIngvale says he would like to pay the fine the NBA gave Van Gundy after the coach's accusation that officials are targeting Yao this postseason.

"I would be willing to pay the $100,000 fine that the NBA levied against Mr. Van Gundy because I just admire him for standing up for his employees," McIngvale told Houston television station KRIV on Tuesday.

McIngvale said he knows some will laugh at his offer and see it as nothing but a publicity stunt.

"I've got the $100,000 and I'm ready to pay it. I like coach Van Gundy because he does the right thing whether it's popular or not. I'm ready to pay it because he stood up for employees. I think it's great."

To be honest, I take Mattress Mack at his word on this. I think if he were an order of magnitude richer, he'd be a professional sports team owner much like Mark Cuban. Does anyone doubt that Cuban would be picking up the tab for his coach if it were Avery Johnson who'd been fined for a similar outburst? This may be good publicity for McIngvale (who we all know has a knack for finding the spotlight), but it's also 100% in character.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 04, 2005 to Other sports | TrackBack

It's been 12 years since I lived in Houston and I can still remember those commercials.

Posted by: Double B on May 4, 2005 11:06 PM