When Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert went gonzo Thursday night and unleashed a harshly worded open letter directed at the departing LeBron James and intended to rally jilted Cavs fans, no one in the league backed Gilbert's over-the-top reaction louder than his friend Mark Cuban.
Scoffing at media criticism of Gilbert for a highly personal attack against James that was posted on the Cavs' website soon after James' announcement, Cuban wrote in an email to ESPNDallas.com:
"I like what Dan did. He showed the emotion that comes with owning a team. He showed the fans that he is just getting started.
"Good for Dan."
Then again ...
Maybe support from the Mavericks' owner isn't so surprising when you recall what Cuban did in somewhat similar circumstances.
Back in the summer of 2004, when you think about it, Cuban basically was Gilbert. Steve Nash was not yet a two-time MVP, nor was anyone calling him King James, but he was beloved by Mavs fans and he crushed them with his free-agent departure to Phoenix on July 2.
Remember how Cuban responded to his point guard's emotional (and controversial) departure?
He took to his personal blog and at 3:52 the next morning, he posted a lengthy and extremely measured explanation of what had taken place. It wasn't a flame-throwing letter with the intent of demonizing Nash ... but it was an open letter of sorts.
The blog post, titled, "Steve Nash, Part I," started like this:
“How could you let Steve Nash go?” It's a question I'm going to hear for a long time. It’s a question Mavs fans deserve an answer to. As best I can, I will try to go through all the logical, illogical, emotional and financial scenarios that we explored in putting together the offer that we thought would keep Steve a Dallas Maverick for the rest of his career."
Cuban then meticulously covered every step, from the very beginning of Cuban's ownership when Nash was often on the club's trade proposals, to their friendship to Nash's health to team finances to, well, everything.
Cuban ended his blog like this:
"I feel better having written all of this, knowing that although Mavs and Nashie fans might not like the result, might not agree with my approach, might think I'm an idiot, but hopefully will know that I know this was an important decision that impacted all of us, and I thought each and every one of deserved to know what went on."