In the many days before his Dallas Mavericks won their first NBA Championship, Mark Cuban offered a series of NBA officiating critiques that caused him to be fined approximately $1.65 million.
He was first seated on the team's bench while launching these personal objections, and was later pushed as far away back from the sidelines as possible by a League rule that prevented NBA owners from sitting so close to the action. Or so close to the refs. A mandate that still can't prevent media types from pushing a recorder in front of the mega-star owner post-game, however, and inquiring about an officiating performance that eventually led to his coach kicking the basketball off the head of a fan in the third row. For example.
Which was precisely what Tim McMahon of ESPN Dallas did after Rick Carlisle went Lawrence Tynes in the Mavericks loss to the Thunder on Wednesday, to which Cuban offered the following series of responses.
"Look, I haven't said a whole lot about the officiating in a long, long time, but I haven't seen it this bad in a long, long time," Cuban told ESPNDallas.com in the Mavericks' weight room after the loss. "Guys miss calls; that's part of the game. You're not always going to have a great crew. Officials have got to learn that's part of the game.
"But these were officials that have been part of the league for years, and it was just off-the-charts bad. And, if no one ever says anything, nothing ever happens."
In referencing the two technicals that Carlisle picked up specifically, Cuban added:
"Those weren't even the worst calls," Cuban said, citing crunch-time no-calls on drives by Terry and point guard Rodrigue Beaubois among other plays in a game in which the Thunder had a 33-25 edge on free throws attempted.
And then this if you needed him to further explain his position:
"It all comes down to this: I understand that it's tough for the officials now," Cuban said. "They're going through the same travel stress as everybody else, but there's absolutely no transparency right now. I mean, you get games like tonight where it was just horrible. Who knows, I'm not saying it impacted the game, but you can just start naming the calls.
"If no one ever says anything, nothing ever happens," Cuban said. "We turn in stuff not after every game, but we turn in stuff all the time and we get 'inconclusive; inconclusive; yeah, we missed this; yeah, we got it right.' That's all fine and good, but there's nobody reporting to us on accountability. And that needs to change.
"I mean, it's just ridiculous," Cuban said. "Something needs to be done; someone needs to stand up and say something. So here I is."
Thank you Mark, for being brave enough to make this personal stand against the atrocities of NBA officiating and the pain it causes the civilized world. We all appreciate your leadership on this. By the way, you can't have your employees kicking basketballs off the heads of paying customers in the third row either. Separate issue, I know, but just something to keep an eye on as well.
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