Mark Cuban will not be running the Olympic torch anytime soon
Last season, the Dallas Mavericks were able to foil the plans of the best team ever conspired when they defeated the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, winning an elusive championship for superstar Dirk Nowitzki, validating his illustrious career, and pretty much making sure owner Mark Cuban is completely insufferable (more so than usual) for the next several years. Nothing bolsters a rich loudmouth’s bravado quite like a big shiny trophy. This season, however, isn’t starting out so good for Cuban and the Mavs. Their big off-season acquisition, Lamar Odom, hasn’t found any rhythm whatsoever and nobody really knows what his role on the team is or will be going forward. The lockout messed with long-timers, like Nowitzki, and threw off their training camp routine of getting into shape for the season, so their bodies are having a difficult time adjusting to the rigorous and fast-paced post-lockout NBA schedule. Making things worse, Nowitzki has been nursing a sore knee all season, likely caused by the amount of wear and tear he’s put on it in the last seven months with the Mavericks’ deep playoff run and his summer spent at the European Championships trying to get his native Germany back to the Olympics. Germany fell short, Nowitzki has been held out for a week of games to try and rest the knee, and Mark Cuban is pissed, in particular with a certain international games.
“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.”
“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 has complained before and he’ll complain again (and again) about NBA players getting hurt in international competition. Having lost guard Rodrigue Beaubois for all of last season to a broken foot sustained while playing for France in preparation for the 2010 World Championships, and now watching his marquee superstar sit on the bench from leg fatigue after playing with the German national team this summer, Cuban seems to have a legitimate gripe. Why should he have to invest millions and millions of dollars into players only to have them go play for their home countries and get hurt?
Oh, right, because he doesn’t own them. These guys are basketball players, so they’re going to go out and play basketball. Whether it’s on their national team or a pickup game at the local Y, sometimes this results in players getting hurt. That doesn’t mean that NBA owners should have the right to tell players they can’t play for their home countries in international competitions, like the Olympics. I mean, it’s still the Olympics and competing for your country still matters to some people, like Nowitzki. Dirk has admitted that the physical toll of playing this summer was probably too much and he shouldn’t have done it, but he wanted to help Germany get back to the Olympics to give that experience to some of the younger players on the squad of intense national pride and representing your country in front of the entire world…which seems a little more satisfying and important than four games in January of the NBA season. Then again, the Olympics don’t make Mark Cuban any money or attention, so what’s the point of even having them, right Mark?