Aug 14, 2011, 3:30 PM EDT
DyckmanPark has been as much of a hangout for NBA players opening classrooms on streetball courts as anywhere else. So much so that Mark Cuban decided to make a pit-stop by the place to see some basketball.
For about thirty seconds.
The standing-room only crowd showed Cuban love as he entered with security flanking his every step. Cuban shook hands with the fans that were lined up behind a bench and the scorers table. The owner of the defending NBA champions posed for pictures and sat for a few minutes in a beach chair before departing.
As he was escorted out, the game’s emcee told the crowd on hand that because of NBA rules, Cuban was not allowed to stay any longer.
“I love anywhere where there’s basketball. Anywhere where there’s people coming out and having fun is always a good thing, man,” Cuban said as he exited the park. “I’m glad Greg (Marius, CEO of the EBC) brought me out to be apart of it. I wish I could stay.”
So, it’s really great that Cuban’s making an appearance and promoting basketball and willing to cross the line to where he knew there would be NBA players, even he was forced to leave.
Thing is, there have been published reports on how Cuban is part of the contingent of owners who have pushed hardest for the lockout, the relatively new owners who want to guarantee profitability by shifting the league’s course in terms of player salary structure to a hard cap and essentially enact nuclear winter to get what they want. The NBA’s official position, of course, is that the system is simply not sustainable and that a roll-back of the 57% BRI under the previous deal is part of what they have determined is necessary to stop the bleeding. Even if Cuban’s not part of that contingent, that’s the leading force from the owners, of which Cuban is a part of. So in the boardroom Cuban’s pushing to keep the players locked out and consequently the game on hold from the fans, and in front of the cameras, he’s hanging out with the Mavericks at the ESPY’s and making appearances at Dyckman Park before leaving as if it’s not his choice and he’s just doing what he’s told.
Listen, no one thinks more of Cuban as an owner than I do. He’s a smart, engaging personality that has pumped millions of dollars into the Mavericks to make them a winner. Seeing him with the trophy at the Finals in Miami after Game 6 was a highlight, it was validation to everyone who supports things like sports psychologists, advanced metrics, and entertaining owners who have their eye on the future. But Cuban seems to want to play both sides. The, pardon this, maverick owner who plays by his own rules and flirts with fines because of how close he is with his players, and the billionaire owner looking to kill a season in order to get what he wants, which is what he feels is a fair share of the pie.
If the reports are off, and Cuban’s not a part of that contingent, if he thinks the league should back off its hard line and settle a deal in the middle with the players, then this is totally off. But we’ll never know that because we don’t know where the owners stand. Transparency weakens their position, and it’s not something they should engage in. But that obtuseness comes with a price, and that price seems to be Cuban looking a little hypocritical.
But hey, I’m sure the hot dogs were nice.
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