ORLANDO, Fla. - Stan Van Gundy never wears the championship ring from Miami's 2006 title. He coached the Heat for the first 21 games that season but can't say for sure where he put the jewelry.
His best guess is it's in storage somewhere collecting dust. "It really does not mean anything," the Orlando Magic coach said.
"I was not part of that," Van Gundy said. "I don't feel a part of that. I don't feel any sense of accomplishment from that at all."
Van Gundy walked away from the Heat after a slow start to the 2005-06 season and Pat Riley returned to the sideline to lead Miami to the title.
He arrived in Orlando in 2007 and now has a chance to win a ring that would mean something to him. The Magic begin the finals tomorrow night vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.
"He talks about winning a championship every day," Magic general manager Otis Smith said. "So really, he deserves the credit for raising the bar, that just getting to the playoffs is not good enough."
Van Gundy is four wins away from his own championship.
Van Gundy's past (Shaquille O'Neal) and present (Dwight Howard) superstar centers have taken swipes at him. O'Neal called him the "master of panic," and Howard publicly criticized his coaching strategy.
Van Gundy's approach is unorthodox by NBA standards.
He doesn't wear a tie with his jacket. His face is often unshaved and scruffy. He seems to live and die with each play. He'll cover his face, pull his hair, stomp his foot and scream at players in a high-pitched tone - which Howard loves to mock - for even the smallest detail.
"Me and Stan have had our ups and downs, but he is a great motivator," Howard said. "Even when he's yelling and screaming, throughout all that, he finds a way to put in just an ounce of something to get us fired up."