Wednesday, a report surfaced in Orlando alleging that Dwight Howard wanted Stan Van Gundy and his entire Magic coaching staff fired. Thursday, Stan Van Gundy told reporters it was true, then Dwight Howard walked out, and what happened next is one of the most awesomely uncomfortable media sessions in NBA History.
The video is above, and a rundown's below.1. VAN GUNDY CONFIRMS THE REPORT. Van Gundy is asked about Dwight Howard trying to get him fired and says, "I know he has. That’s just the way it is. Again, I’ve been dealing with that all year. It’s not anything real bothersome. You go out and do your job."
Asked how he knows for certain: "I was told it was true by management, right from the top."
2. VAN GUNDY ELABORATES. Asked about his fate: "They haven't told me anything and they don't need to. I'm the coach right now, and you know, I'm the coach until they decide I'm not the coach." "I've said this before... I don't care about that stuff. It's 12:02 right now, if they wanna fire me at 12:05, I'll go home and find something to do. I'll have a good day."
3. VAN GUNDY KEEPS IT REALER THAN REAL. "To me, since everything came out yesterday, I'll be honest. You know you're gonna get asked and you think about how you're gonna respond and the whole thing, and... The only thing I'm ever uncomfortable with is bullshit."
"Some people have a hard time with that, I guess."
4. DWIGHT ENTERS THE PICTURE. Superman joins the media scrum and puts his arm around Van Gundy, completely oblivious to Van Gundy's real talk 30 seconds earlier.
Dwight: "Yeah Stan, we're not worried about [the rumors], right?"
(Everybody pause here to take a deep breath and cringe)
Stan: "That's what I just said."
Dwight: [grinning] "Yeah, what's our main concern right now?"
Stan: "We have to stop Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks tonight."
Dwight: "And the New York Knicks. That's the plan, right?"
Stan: "That is the plan. That's what I just said."
Dwight: [Looks around] "Is Dave Ping here today? The guy who started this BS?"
Stan: "I don't see Ping here."
Dwight: "Me neither."
Stan: "Are you guys done with, uh, me?"
5. VAN GUNDY EXITS, DWIGHT TAKES OVER. Never has a superstar athlete been more obviously full of shit than Dwight Howard at the end of this interview, and it's all a pretty spectacular way to end this. The coach who was uncomfortable with bullshit makes way for the superstar who's deflecting questions, arching his eyebrows, and doggedly searching for "the guy who started this BS", completely oblivious to the irony.
In retrospect, Van Gundy's departure was probably inevitable all along. And whenever it finally happens, the ending here will be the perfect metaphor for the team he's leaving behind.