With 3:32 remaining in the third quarter, Booker missed a jumper, followed his shot and put the ball back in the hoop to put the Suns back up 10 points on the Bucks.
The sharp play prompted the odd remark from the former NBA coach.
“He’s got an edge to him. He looks like a choir boy, but he plays like … a hoodlum,” Van Gundy said.
Booker’s mother is Mexican-American and Puerto Rican and his father, a former NBA player, is African-American.
The comment prompted a laugh from his co-host Mark Jackson.
Ryan Clark, a current ESPN NFL analyst, caught the comment as did many other Twitter users. The former NFL defensive back said the remark was “certainly code.”
“Van Gundy just called D Book light skinned. ‘He looks like a Choir boy’. That was certainly code,” Clark tweeted.
Others also chimed in.
ESPN didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Van Gundy has drawn some ire over questionable remarks in the past. The most recent came during the Suns’ Western Conference Finals series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
In the fourth quarter with more than 4 minutes remaining, Clippers star Paul George took a slap to the face from Suns forward Jae Crowder. George went down seemingly in pain from getting hit across the face.
The referees stopped play to review whether Crowder should be assessed a flagrant foul. Van Gundy, the longtime ESPN commentator, strongly disagreed that it was a flagrant foul and went further in a diatribe.
“I’m sick of the sissification of the game. That’s not a flagrant foul. He contested. He fouled him. Shoot your two free throws,” Van Gundy said.
The Suns won the series against the Clippers and had a one-game lead in the series against the Bucks heading into Thursday night’s game.