Jeff Van Gundy shows how stupid the supposed ‘Kardashian curse’ is

Screengrab via Ximo Pietro/YouTube

He wants the league to put some respect on the Kardashian name.

Cleveland Cavalier Tristan Thomas is having a big week: his team is in the NBA Finals, and his girlfriend Khloe Kardashian brought her family to Game Four to cheer him on.

He also happens to be playing worse than he usually does. The result is an uptick in talk about the “Kardashian curse“—the myth that any athlete dating one of the reality stars immediately starts sucking at sports.

Apparently seasoned ABC commentator Jeff Van Gundy has had enough of the rumors, though, because when the camera cut to Kardashian (seated with sister Kourtney and her children) during Friday’s game, he launched into a thoughtful defense of the reality star.

Here’s a transcript of his speech:

I’ve noticed a lot in this series the debate about why Tristan Thompson has not played well. And he hasn’t played well. But the debate about whether his significant other, Khloe Kardashian, and the Kardashian curse, is the reason, to me, is downright low-rent.

He goes on to reference league stars LeBron James and Steph Curry. Both players have struggled in games during their careers, but their significant others seem to be spared the kind of criticism Kardashian faces from NBA fans.

“This Kardashian shaming is because she’s an easy target,” Van Gundy concluded. “And I don’t know her or her family, but I do know this: She deserves an apology for anybody who participated in that type of debate.”

Co-analyst Mark Jackson seemed to be on the same page as Van Gundy. “I couldn’t agree with you more,” he replied. “It’s total disrespect, and it is low-rent. We are better than that.”

The duo’s unanimous take on the situation, while random, is big in terms of league standards for discourse.

SB Nation pointed out that, historically speaking, blaming the girlfriend is a tried and true media narrative for a lot of athletes. “Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn are a recent example, and so was Kardashian when she previously dated Lamar Odom.”

Cleveland won, 137-116.

Christine Friar

Christine Friar

Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.