ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy Tests Positive for COVID-19, Will Miss 2022 NBA Finals Game 1

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 2, 2022

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 19:  ESPN Analysts, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mike Breen look on prior to Game Two of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics at FTX Arena on May 19, 2022 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Jeff Van Gundy will not be available to call Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night after testing positive for COVID-19.

An ESPN official informed The Athletic's Joe Vardon of the news, which comes on the heels of lead play-by-play man Mike Breen missing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals with COVID-19.

Mark Jones replaced Breen for that game, but Breen is expected to be back for Game 1 of the NBA Finals alongside Mark Jackson and sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

The Golden State Warriors will host the Boston Celtics for Game 1 at Chase Center in San Francisco at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Van Gundy, 60, began his broadcasting career with ESPN in 2007 and quickly started calling games alongside Breen and Jackson as ESPN's top NBA commentating team.

Jackson left for three years to serve as head coach of the Warriors before returning in 2014. The trio has been together ever since, calling many of the NBA's biggest games, including the Finals.

Before getting into broadcasting, Van Gundy spent 11 seasons as an NBA head coach with the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets from 1996 to 2007.

Van Gundy went 430-318 as a head coach and led his teams to the playoffs on nine occasions. That included a trip to the NBA Finals with the Knicks in 1999.

Since the conclusion of his NBA head coaching career, Van Gundy led Team USA to a gold medal at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup and was head coach when the United States qualified for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

While there has been chatter about Van Gundy's possible candidacy for NBA head coaching jobs in recent years, he has remained in his role with ESPN.

His first potential opportunity to return to the announcers' table will come Sunday when the Warriors host the Celtics in Game 2 of the Finals.