Sports Outside the Beltway

Mark Cuban: Your League is Rigged!

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban screamed “Your league is rigged!” to NBA commissioner David Stern after his team’s controversial loss to the Miami heat Sunday night, reports Miami Herald reporter Greg Cote.

”We Wuz Robbed!” has long been the handiest excuse of teams that cannot find a decent reason for their collapse that doesn’t involve the ignominy of a mirror. The convenience of alleging bad calls, or even willfully biased officiating (you’ll recall the Seattle Seahawks conducted a remarkable seminar in early February), also is the blame-dodge of choice among teams that cannot bear to properly credit the opponent.

And so there it was for all to see past midnight Sunday in Miami’s downtown bayfront arena: the sourest, saddest, sorriest display by a losing team that you’d ever wish to witness.

Not the loss itself; that was rather valiant. The reaction to it.

There was Cuban, whose billions can buy just about anything but a mortal slump by D-Wade, careening onto the court in a blue Jerry Stackhouse jersey after the final buzzer, screaming profanely at referee Joe DeRosa.

Cuban then turned to Stern and other NBA officials who were seated at the scorer’s table and was overheard to shout venomously in the jubilant din, “[Bleep] you! [Bleep] you! Your league is rigged!”

Cote was on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show around 8:35 this morning defending this quote, which he alone has published. He admits that it is a “third hand” quotation that was passed from an unnamed “league official” to an unnamed source in whom Cote has great confidence. He says he emailed Cuban for a reaction (when, he doesn’t say) but did not get a response. I’ve now done the same.

Cote contends that he didn’t make too big a fuss about Cuban’s quote (it was several paragraphs into the article) because it is, after all, Mark Cuban, who has a reputation for spouting off. Still, this is beyond anything Cuban has said before and, given that he allegedly said it right there on the court after a nationally televised NBA Finals game, it’s rather odd that no one else is reporting this.

In a somewhat related matter, Cuban posted on his blog yesterday afternoon on the subject “Cursing.”

I like to curse. I like to curse because I enjoy how it gets everyone in an uproar. I wont curse in an environment where I have accepted an invitation or am a guest of someone else. I will play by their rules.

But if you come on my home turf and want something from me. Its my rules.

Last night in the locker room after we lost in overtime to the heat. I was asked by reporters to answer some questions. I told them i would if they asked good questions and didnt ask the same cliche’d questions they had asked after other games. It was interesting how quiet everyone got.

then someone asked “Is this your worst loss ever” . What the f@#^ kind of question is that ? Is this for a VH1 special ? “Worst Losses Ever ?” If it was, then maybe it was a decent question. Otherwise, how do you answer that question…


So I told the reporter to “Ask me a real f@#^ing question”

Apparently some folks have taken exception to me cursing in my response. Well in this case, the reporter was using my time, we were in a locker room and I was trying to provide a response that had no value to me, but could only help him. If he doesnt think enough of either of our time to invest the brainpower and minutes it takes to come up with something different than has been asked a thousand times.

F@#^ em.

Needless to say, the symbols are mine.

UPDATE: Cuban has been fined a cool quarter mil.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $250,000 by the NBA on Tuesday for his outbursts following Game 5 of the NBA finals. Cuban was cited for “several acts of misconduct” he committed after Dallas lost 101-100 in overtime to the Heat in Miami on Sunday night.

Furious with several calls, Cuban went onto the floor to vent directly to official Joe DeRosa. He then stared down and screamed toward commissioner David Stern and a group of league officials, from the court, then the stands. He later used profanity during a postgame session with the media.

Announcement of the fine came hours before Game 6 of the NBA finals in which the Mavericks trail the Heat 3-2.

Cuban said Monday he was bracing for the fine, his second this postseason. He also was assessed $200,000 during the second round for going onto the court and for an entry on his blog criticizing the way the league selects officials for the playoffs.

Stern said Tuesday that he believes Cuban’s more vitriolic outbursts are “not healthy for either him or the game.” “I don’t think he is crazy. I think he is smart. I think his recent loss of self control is not planned and not calculated, and I think if he could, he would like to have some of it back,” Stern said in an interview on San Francisco radio station KNBR. “Because at bottom, I really do believe it distracts the players and that can’t be good. It sets a bad tone.

Cuban has a statement at his blog, Blog Maverick, unequivocably defending the League’s integrity.

The games are not rigged. Thats a complete insult to the players on the court and the incredible amount of effort they put into preparing for and playing the games. All 82 regular season and post season games. The NBA couldnt rig the games if it wanted to. And it doesnt want to. Its that simple

Do i like that i have gotten more than 12,000 emails in the last week and probably 80pct have questioned some level of honesty. No, I hate it. I hate it more than you will ever know because these are my customers, NBA customers, who are questioning our enterprise. Thats never a good thing and each one is a business hole I have to work harder to dig us out of.

Do I wish there was better communication from the league ? Yes. I dont like when my email box fills up with nonsense. Yes. I wish the league would just come out and explain events that occur in a game to the public. I think it would help the perception of our game. I think it would help fans better understand not only the rules of the NBA, but also the nuances, strategies and challenges of the game. I have suggested it. Many others have suggested it.

Getting an explanation pretty much eliminates everyones ability to question what just occured. Some media people have suggested that the same approach that MLB takes would work well. Simply allow reporters to ask officials questions after a game. Why not ?

He emphatically denies Cotes’ third hand report, though:

pparently the Miami Herald is reporting i screamed at the NBA comissioner after the game the other night. Didnt happen. Didnt say a word to the man. Not a single word. And that was absolutely by intention.

I believe him, incidentally.

While I find Cuban likable and think he’s an incredibly smart businessman, I agree with Stern that these outbursts are bad for the game. Cuban’s heart is in the right place–I think he’s genuinely trying to make the NBA better and many of his complaints about the quality of the officiating have merit–but his approach is wrong. That said, I think the idea that a man, even a billionaire, should be subject to fines of this ridiculous magnitude without much more substantial due process bizarre. Stern’s integrity in unquestioned but no man should have that amount of unchecked power.

Via IM from Jeff Quinton


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Mark Cuban’s outburst was not good for the game, the fans and definetly not his players. This time… However this league would not be the same without the Maverick. David Stern, on the other hand has absolutely too much power. And I remember him saying on National TV to Jim Gray, that the NBA has been doing the best reality TV for the past 25 years…..So, even if Cuban did or did not say your league is rigged. David Stearn intimated it by labeling the NBA as reality TV. And why is called his league anyway?

Posted by Arnold Adkins | June 22, 2006 | 08:05 am | Permalink

Looks like Cuban was right after all with the news about the official fixing games.

I can guarantee if one was doing it there are others also.

What a horrible year for the NBA, tanking, the Suns/Spurs fiasco and suspensions, horrible finals, and now seeing Mark Cuban was right all along.

Posted by joe | July 24, 2007 | 02:19 pm | Permalink

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