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The Van Gundy Brothers Walk, Talk and Bond in the N.B.A. Bubble


“And because of living in different places, with families and careers and all that, you rarely get that time alone,” Jeff said. “This is by far the most time I’ve spent with him since he graduated from high school, or maybe since I graduated from college. Whatever it’s been, it’s been a long time. So that’s been special.”

Still, their schedules are odd here. Their nights are consumed by basketball. If one of them is working a game, that means the other is back at the hotel, watching his brother on TV. In other words, they have not been able to share many dinners. But they are free most mornings, so they have taken advantage of that window — by walking, slowly.

“We’re not setting any land speed records,” Jeff said.

They are both walkers. At home, Jeff walks on a treadmill — sometimes with a bag of M&M’s, which he knows defeats the purpose. Stan walks with his wife, Kim, and their two dogs. Now the brothers hit the cart path three or four times a week, and Jeff said he had largely resisted the urge to hit the snooze button instead. His brother’s presence, he said, had been a motivating force.

“If I had to do it by myself, I’d most likely roll over and go back to sleep,” Jeff said.

They head out around 6:30 a.m., before dawn, to beat the heat and any golfers with early tee times. It takes them about an hour and 15 minutes to cover the course.

“Jeff walks at a really fast pace,” Stan said, “but he’s slowed down for me. I refuse to be pushed.”

It has been just the two of them — with one exception. Dennis Lindsey, the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Utah Jazz, joined them one morning.

“I kind of invited myself,” Lindsey said in a telephone interview. “Jeff and I were trying to connect over coffee, and it just worked out that they let evil management join them.”

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