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Mark Cuban says Jason Collins story is ‘no big deal’

Feb 24, 2014, 8:31 PM EDT

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Mark Cuban traveled with his Mavericks to New York to see them take on a struggling Knicks team at Madison Square Garden on Monday, and as he often does in major media markets, he met with reporters briefly before the game to discuss the news of the day.

In this case, the story of Jason Collins being signed to a 10-day contract by the Nets and becoming the first openly gay active professional athlete to play in one of the four major sports leagues is what’s dominated NBA headlines for the last 24 hours.

Cuban, however, didn’t seem to see what all the fuss was about.

From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

“I think it’s no big deal and that’s exactly the way it should be,” Cuban said before the Mavericks played the reeling Knicks at MSG. “He’s been playing in the league forever. The guy’s known. As long as they get their ass kicked in the playoffs, that’s all I care about.”

On the Collins phenomenon, Cuban continued, “At some point it becomes something to talk about, and now there’s nothing to talk about. Moving on.” …

“That’s just the way it works,” Cuban said. “It was [a big deal] until it isn’t, and now it’s not. Next. Nothing more to talk about. I mean, I don’t give a [expletive] about a guy’s sexuality. Period, end of story.”

Cuban’s comments come off as dismissive in print, but you can see what he was getting at.

It’s a huge step forward for an openly gay athlete to be accepted into what has traditionally been an overly-aggressive culture in professional sports that has, on the surface, seemed less than tolerant of different lifestyles.

Cuban was trying perhaps a bit too hard to prove a point that this shouldn’t be such a hot topic for discussion, and maybe the next time the NBA finds one of its athletes in the same situation, it won’t be. But it’s a bit disingenuous to pretend that the Collins signing isn’t a “big deal,” because it is — and it’s something worth celebrating.

  1. antistratfordian - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    Ironic, because free agents say, “No Big D.” Maybe that’s what he’s cranky about.

  2. nicofthenorthstar - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    Thank you, cap’n obvious. Seriously. Thank you.

  3. pfic15 - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Be careful Mark. The media doesn’t take kindly to those who refuse to fawn over their present obsessions. Tread lightly.

    • unfly - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:58 PM

      True. But as a billionaire it’s pretty hard to make him sorry for anything.

  4. illmatic8582 - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    He’s absolutely right. This is only a big deal to the media bc they have absolutely nothing to do. They will be on this until the next story comes up.

  5. obmig - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    It isn’t a big deal. There are probably a couple dozen gay guys in the nba right now.

    • loungefly74 - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      yeah, there probably are…but coming out is a big deal. this topic goes beyond the court, it’s about human rights. but yeah, once it’s openly acceptable and “normal”, it will be no big deal.

  6. sportsfan18 - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Cubes is right of course, but for another reason that he did not mention.

    Collins can’t play and never could play. Now if there is ever a talent like MJ, LBJ or Kobe that comes out in the beginning or the prime of his career, it will be a big deal.

    Check out how bad Collins has been as a player.

    Here is a description of what the PER numbers mean… And for those who say PER is garbage, I say that Michael Jordan is #1 ALL TIME for having the highest career PER and he could play a little you know.

    LeBron is currently in 2nd place ALL TIME for highest career PER and I know it’s just a coincidence, but like MJ, LBJ can play a little too. Funny isn’t it?

    The league average, every season, is 15.00. Here is a reference guide:

    A Year For the Ages: 35.0
    Runaway MVP Candidate: 30.0
    Strong MVP Candidate: 27.5
    Weak MVP Candidate: 25.0
    Bona fide All-Star: 22.5
    Borderline All-Star: 20.0
    Solid 2nd option: 18.0
    3rd Banana: 16.5
    Pretty good player: 15.0
    In the rotation: 13.0
    Scrounging for minutes: 11.0
    Definitely renting: 9.0
    The Next Stop: DLeague 5.0

    HERE are Jason Collin’s PER figures year by year for his career…

    10.7
    9.9
    10.0
    8.6
    5.5
    3.0
    3.4
    3.3
    0.9 (yes, POINT ZERO NINE… that’s LESS than one (1) folks…)
    5.4
    3.7
    3.0

    His career PER is a WHOPPING 7.1

    Do any of you remember Austin River’s season last year? He had one of the worst rookie seasons ever. He was raked through the mud in the press.

    If you Google Austin Rivers and worst season ever, worst rookie season you’ll find a lot of articles about his poor year last year.

    Here is one link to an article about him being having the worst season in NBA history.

    http://chasingjoejohnson.com/2013/01/austin-rivers-is-statistically-the-worst-player-in-nba-history/

    Guess what? Austin’s PER last year, during the worst season in NBA history was 5.9

    5.9 is HIGHER than the last EIGHT seasons Jason Collins played in the NBA.

    Yep, EIGHT straight seasons of having a PER of 5.5 or lower.

    Collins had 6 of his last 7 seasons with a PER of 3.7 or LOWER.

    At his BEST, Collins was a scrub and that was only for his first three seasons.

    After that, he was a D league player in the NBA, nothing more.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      Bruce Bowen has a career PER of 8.2. According to your statistic, he was somewhere between the D-League and “Just Renting” for his whole career.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        It’s NOT my statistic. Simply Google NBA PER or NBA PER definition.

        I had ZERO to do with that statistic or definition.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        Wait really? And here I was, all these years, thinking that PER was invented by sportsfan18 and not John Hollinger.

  7. shuttaman1990 - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    Exactly, the media needs to shut up about it. He’s not even that good!

  8. adoombray - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    He also wasnt “accepted into a sport culture blah blah blah”. he was signed to a contract.

  9. 1forest1 - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    THANK YOU!!!!

  10. vstyle23 - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:53 PM

    And this is why I love Mr. Cuban, other shark tank of course.

  11. jwag777 - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:04 AM

    Don’t think it’s a big deal either. Pretty sure Collins isn’t the first gay player in the NBA. Just the first to publicly admit it.

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      That he can play as who he really is IS the point.

  12. motobus - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:22 AM

    It really isn’t

  13. davidly - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    Calmer than you.

  14. ravenswhat - Feb 25, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    I agree with him. It’s the media trying to sell a story. Most people don’t care if someone is gay or not these days. Can he still contribute? That’s the story.

  15. fissels - Feb 25, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    You’re right Mark!

  16. loungefly74 - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    “But it’s a bit disingenuous to pretend that the Collins signing isn’t a “big deal,” because it is — and it’s something worth celebrating.”

    this is absolutely right. it is a barrier broken. same ballpark as Jackie Robinson’s breakthrough? it’s close. it will be “no big deal” once it becomes the norm.

    • illmatic8582 - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:10 AM

      Collins playing means nothing. No barrier is really broken. He sucks! You need a player of Durant/Rose/James’ caliber to come out as gay. Then you will see if a barrier is really broken. Will his jerseys really sell? Will he be voted as an all star? How much verbal abuse will they put up with? Don’t mention Jackie (how was a star) to some marginal player who was never a star. Just stop with the Jackie comparisons

    • wethog66 - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      To suggest what Collins did is “close” to what Jackie Robinson did is simply absurd.

      And I never thought I’d see the day that I agreed with Mark Cuban.

      • loungefly74 - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:49 AM

        having an openly gay athlete in a game is breaking a barrier. not sure where you have been but its a big deal…a “good” big deal. its a reflection of the changing times. it doesnt matter if he sucks or not, that is not the point…@illmatic8582. that totally went over your head if that is what you are focusing on.

        absurd? really? why? a lot of accredited sources (media and society) pretty much have the same conclusion.

        I just felt the IQ of PBT just drop a few points after reading some comments. way to go, guys…sheesh.

    • bougin89 - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      Absolutely agree about this being worth celebrating. It’s a legitimate barrier broken however you cannot at all compare this with what Jackie Robinson went through. Collins is being pretty much fully accepted and supported by his fellow NBA players/coaches and has strong support from the fans. Jackie Robinson? To put it very, very lightly he wasn’t exactly “supported” when he broke the color barrier in MLB.

      • loungefly74 - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:04 AM

        you are right. JR had a much tougher circumstance. society was controlled by racists/bigots at that time. no question about that. i am just saying that it is a “barrier”…a barrier broken. jackie broke a barrier. of course, jason has a much “easier road” if making direct comparisons because our society has done a tremendous amount of postive movement towards human rights since jackie….but the guy did something very brave. good for him. and now with that barrier broken, maybe other players will do so as well. this is a big moment for sports because it is trancending to bigger and more important things in life.

      • bougin89 - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:49 AM

        Well put. I agree especially with:

        “this is a big moment for sports because it is trancending to bigger and more important things in life.”

        Also(and I’ve posted this on another thread) I find it a perfect fitting that this happened on a team owned by a Russian politician. Hopefully this is another step for the US but also a small step for other countries, countries like Russia, who we know aren’t exactly open to gay marriage rights, etc.(to put it in a very general way).

      • Kevin S. - Feb 25, 2014 at 6:47 PM

        For what it’s worth, Prok ran on a much-more LGBT-inclusive platform.

      • bougin89 - Feb 26, 2014 at 9:41 AM

        Yep and he backed it up with the Collins’ signing.

    • jerze2387 - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      how the hell is it close to jackie robinson???? Do gays have to sit in the back of the bus? was Collins forced to eat outside because he couldnt go eat with his teamm mates? was he subjected to the hate mail, death threats, racial slurs, etc that jackie faced? do gays have seperate schools, water fountains, bathrooms, and forced into seperate parts of town? do cops chase them with dogs and firehoses?

      When they face all that, THEN they can compare to jackie robinson. Until then, the gays need to quit compring to the damn civil rights struggle. not the same ballpark at all. Hell, not even the same UNIVERSE.

      Not to mention Jackie robinson got signed because he was a good player, not because the media guilted everybody into letting him play so it wasnt considered discrimination.

      • Kurt Helin - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        If you are suggesting gays do not face discrimination and abuse in this country I suggest you watch the news.

        Collins was given a 10-day contract because he has a skill set — post defense, hard fouls, strong picks, rebounds — that the Nets do need. They are trying a veteran out who might fit their system. He was picked up for basketball reasons. Sorry to burst your bubble.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        “Do gays have to sit in the back of the bus? was Collins forced to eat outside because he couldnt go eat with his teamm mates? was he subjected to the hate mail, death threats, racial slurs, etc that jackie faced? do gays have seperate schools, water fountains, bathrooms, and forced into seperate parts of town? do cops chase them with dogs and firehoses? ”

        Did you know in 33 states, gays cannot marry the person they love? Did you know in 26 states, gays cannot adopt a child together? Did you know that according to the federal government and over half the states, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against gays in the hiring process? Did you know that according to the federal government and 28 states, it is also legal to discriminate against gays when renting?

        So gays can’t get married, they can’t have children, they can’t have jobs and they can’t find places to live.

        You’re right though, because their oppression isn’t the exact same as the oppression African-Americans faced, let’s just entirely discount it.

        And while you’re at it, if you think that the gay community has never had “seperate schools, water fountains, bathrooms, and forced into seperate parts of town.. [and had] cops chase them with dogs and firehoses…” I would suggest a history lesson to you by looking up the Stonewall Riots.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:57 AM

        “was he subjected to the hate mail, death threats, racial slurs, etc that jackie faced?”

        Oh and by the way- yes, yes he was, and yes he will be. Just look at some of the sad commentary on Twitter.

  17. davidly - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    Basically, everyone is falling all over themselves to maintain that, “It’s no big deal to me.” Clearly not everyone has confidence that that’s the case, otherwise a few higher paid NBA players and/or coaches would have come out already.

    But let’s just say that no NBA player ever came out officially, rather just got seen holding hands with another guy. Whether it’s a big deal to you or not, the press would be all over it like flies on you know what.

    It’s a big deal, even if you don’t care.

  18. Miami305 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    I also think Collins should have a separate shower. The NBA would never allow a woman to shower with men, so a man that is attracted to other men should not be allowed to shower with them.

    Separate water fountains…no. Separate showers….yes.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      can’t tell if serious or not

      • Miami305 - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        I am serious. Why should the normal players have to endure taking a shower with a man that could possibly be checking them out. Not good for morale.

  19. bballhistorian - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    I agree with Mr. Cuban. That is all from my end.

  20. markpfs - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    I agree that Nets signed him for basketball reasons only. They are thin on bigs right now.

    What I don’t get about all this is Jason Collins getting a pass on his treatment of his female bride to be that had to find out about his sexuality in a magazine article. He didn’t talk to her about it and break it off he just let her find out when friends called her to check on her.

    Seems odd that the media gets to know first then his parents, brother and finance.

    Too bad a better person couldn’t be the first to break the barrier.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      He called off the wedding four years before coming out.

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