NBA Fines Stan Van Gundy $25K for Saying LeBron ‘Gets to Do Whatever He Wants’

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

Game 1 of the first-round series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons was closer than expected.

One thing that was expected, though, is Stan Van Gundy calling out officials during his mid-game interview with Lisa Salters.

Specifically, Van Gundy was upset about the way LeBron James was being officiated, particularly on the offensive end.

"A couple calls have upset our guys," he said. "They've got to understand, LeBron's LeBron. They're not going to call offensive fouls on him. He gets to do whatever he wants. They've got to understand that."

As best we can tell, he's referencing this play:

And the one at the 10-second mark of this video, when Stanley Johnson was whistled for a foul despite being grabbed by James.

After the game, the Pistons head coach changed his tone drastically.

"Look, I thought it evened out really well," Van Gundy said. "But early on, I thought there were two pretty obvious offensive fouls down there on him. But it's two calls in an entire game after that.

"Look, the refereeing had nothing to do with tonight. They did a good job. It went both ways. I thought they did a really good job. It was decided by the players on the floor, as it should be."

But his postgame comments couldn't save him from being punished for the ones he uttered on live national television. The league fined Van Gundy $25,000.

He addressed the fine today.

“There were only two plays I complained about, and they were both in the first quarter," Van Gundy said. "She (Lisa Salters) got me at the end of the first quarter. I thought there were two fairly clear offensive fouls on (James) in the first quarter. I thought, for the most part, the game was officiated well and consistently. I just had problems with two calls and they were right there in the first quarter."

After practice on Tuesday, Johnson was also perplexed at some of the calls and non-calls that went LeBron's way.

“The only moment where I was mad and almost lost my cool … I understand he’s a physical guy, but if he wants to grab me and throw me to the floor and you call a foul on me, I just don’t understand that," he said.

"It’s LeBron. That’s the explanation. I already knew what time it was, but I didn’t think it was going to be a blatant foul like that. It wasn’t a foul, it was physical basketball. On the other end, when I get an opportunity to throw him on the ground, it is what it is. He would do the same to me."

Share on Twitter