Skip to content

Cuban calls NBA players in Olympics “epitome of stupidity”

Jan 24, 2012, 5:27 PM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets, Game 2 Getty Images

In the ongoing “club vs. country” debate that rages through soccer, basketball and other sports, Mark Cuban has long been clearly on the side of the clubs. Which makes sense because he owns one. He pays a lot of money, hypothetically, to a tall German forward who went and played for his national team this summer and now is sitting out at least four games to get his knee and the rest of him right.

With the Olympics coming up in London this summer, you can bet you’re going to hear a lot more of this from Mark Cuban and others over the coming months. Here is his latest rant on the subject, told to ESPNDallas.com.

“It’s just the epitome of stupidity that we would allow ourselves to be used so other corporations” — as Cuban calls the Olympics — “can make tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cuban said. “There’s some guys sitting at the Olympic headquarters going, ‘Those dumb-asses, we’re taking all their best guys for nothing.’ “

Cuban knows he’s unlikely to bring change to the system, but he said he will continue “fighting so that we’ll pull out.”

We can pick apart the problems with Cuban’s argument — starting with that he does not own these employees and if they wish to use their off-season to play for their country for pride and to promote their brand (to pump up their personal corporations) they should be free to do so — but it’s all kind of moot. Because David Stern isn’t buying it. Stern knows he has to grown the game and the NBA brand globally and the Olympics are a major stage to do that. Stern gets the big picture.

“The commissioner’s office won’t open it up to discussion. They just make a unilateral call,” Cuban said Monday. “They’ll take calls about it, but won’t put it up for a vote. Hopefully, I can get him to move it to a vote at some point.”

Cuban won’t have to worry about Dirk Nowitzki playing in the Olympics in London — Germany did not qualify.

Of course, if his master plan of finding a way to land Deron Williams and Dwight Howard as free agents pans out, he will be sweating out the Olympics like the most patriotic of American hoop fans. Just for a different reason.

  1. charlutes - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    He makes a compelling argument. That said, selfishly I’d rather watch NBA ballets in the Olympics. Gotta love Cubes though.

  2. goforthanddie - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    I cared (more) when it was amateurs-only.

    • bozosforall - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:28 PM

      Amateurs? When? The Russians always used pros. So did the East Germans. And Cubans. And Chinese…the list goes on and on.

  3. Justin - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    “It’s just the epitome of stupidity that we would allow ourselves to be used so other corporations” — as Cuban calls the Olympics — “can make tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cuban said. “There’s some guys sitting at the Olympic headquarters going, ‘Those dumb-asses, we’re taking all their best guys for nothing.’ “

    Replace “Olympics” with “NCAA” and you have an even more legitimate argument.

  4. willardj - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    I don’t think Cuban understands the point of the Olympics.

    It’s about representing your country and playing the sport for the love, not for the money. The reason players join is because they want to represent the U.S. and they love basketball.

    If they got paid to play, then that would ruin it. In fact that’s the reason why the Olympic committee took so long to allow professionals to play.

    • goforthanddie - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:20 PM

      I think he understands it better than you. The Olympics were originally amateur-only and worked just fine that way. Why add pros? Money, dear boy.
      If the players REALLY cared about repping America, why do so many refuse to play the qualifying tournaments? That’s representing America too, and in a pretty crappy light. Lose those tournaments, there’s no guarantee we even make the Olympics. But that doesn’t matter. Too many just want the personal glory with as little effort as possible. You know, just like in the NBA.

      • willardj - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:54 PM

        They added pros because the pros are better than amateurs. You want the best people representing your country. The best athletes competing will always generate more money so those two things go hand in hand.

        Many don’t participate in the qualifying tournaments because they have an extremely tight schedule. It’s very difficult to play a season of NBA basketball after participating in the Olympics in the off-season. Manu Ginobili has aged so quickly because of all of the Euro league tournaments he’s participated during the offseasons. And it’s pretty much guaranteed that the US will qualify anyway.

        Do you honestly think that the players are upset that they’re not being paid for playing in the Olympics?

      • bozosforall - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:28 PM

        Amateurs? When? The Russians always used pros. So did the East Germans. And Cubans. And Chinese…the list goes on and on.

      • sprest83 - Jan 24, 2012 at 9:31 PM

        All these people saying that the players dont receive money are blind. They might not get a check from the US, but they make tons of cash for appearances and endorsements. So yes they get paid and get paid well.

  5. thenmoveback - Jan 24, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Cuban must hate America

  6. bozosforall - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    STHU, Cuban. F’n idiot.

  7. astrosfan75956 - Jan 24, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Cuban, come on, let the men represent the country and count your money.

  8. oldnavy89 - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    The Russians are the ones who called the US out anyway in the late 80’s they said how could the NBA call them selfs world champions and not beat the worlds best thus the Dream Team was formed in 92

  9. nuyoricanz - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    Cuban – you’re a communist

  10. muhangis - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    Amazing how many miss the point. To these players its about the pride of representing your country, going against the very best in the world, teaming with the very best in the world, and the chance to win a gold medal. They love it and so do the fans. What’s so hard to get about that? And strangely hypocritical that Cuban talks about corporate greed. Cuban is ignorant, always is and always was.

  11. muhangis - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    Boy how badly we would not care if U.S. olympic basketball went back to amateurs.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

What players stood out at World Cup?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (3188)
  2. L. James (2515)
  3. K. Irving (2393)
  4. D. Ferry (2282)
  5. J. Valanciunas (2248)
  1. K. Bryant (2164)
  2. R. Rondo (1946)
  3. R. Gay (1844)
  4. N. Batum (1799)
  5. P. George (1780)