Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy, key members of the ESPN broadcast team for the NBA Finals, will miss the opening game of the championship series between the Golden State and the Boston Celtics. An ESPN spokesperson said both broadcasters have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days, but Van Gundy said in an interview that he has not.
The NBA Finals begin Thursday in San Francisco and will be the 14th championship series that Brin has participated in based on playing alongside Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, two former NBA coaches. Instead, Game 1 will be called by Jackson and Mark Jones, with Lisa Salters as the side reporter.
Breen missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals series between Miami and Boston on Sunday after testing positive for the virus. Van Gundy and Jackson, who had called the games with Bryn the previous week, continued the match, with Jones filling Bryn’s place.
Van Gundy said in an interview Thursday that he had not been tested for the virus before Sunday’s game because he did not show symptoms, although his voice was noticeably hoarse during the Game 7 broadcast. The National Basketball Association has not established a test mandate for members of television and news media in Playoffs this year, as it did last season.
Van Gundy said he started feeling slight symptoms on Monday when he flew to Houston. The next day, he took a home test, which he said was inconclusive. Then ESPN sent Van Gundy two more rapid tests, which he said came back negative. Van Gundy also said he wasn’t sure why it was pulled from broadcasting the first game, and that he hopes to return to Game 2 on Sunday in San Francisco.
Van Gundy added that he no longer had symptoms.
Adrian Wojnarowski and Kendra Andrews, two reporters who frequently appear on air for ESPN, have also tested positive for the coronavirus, and will miss the series’ opening. Andrews is a great writer covering the Golden State, and Wojnarowski is the best NBA reporter on the network.