Monday, August 29, 2011
Would Mark Cuban have signed Michael Vick?
By Jeff Caplan
America's most popular NBA owner went on the CNN program "Piers Morgan Tonight" on Monday promising on his Twitter account to "raise some hell" on politics, and while he was at it he also took on a few other subjects like, oh, winning the NBA championship.
Cuban flew to New York to film the show in his new Gulfstream jet that he told Morgan he bought for $40 million -- apparently the largest purchase ever made online.
Now, on to the interview.
Morgan started off asking Cuban about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick's jail-to-riches contract he agreed to Monday, a six-year, $100 million deal with $40 million guaranteed -- or the price of Cuban's new jet.
But first, talk of the title. Morgan saved this for last and Cuban didn't disappoint with a couple of interesting nuggets.
Morgan said he was in a bar watching the Mavs put away the Miami in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and he described it as, "What a day, what an amazing event for Dallas, for you, for the American Dream, for all of it. Looking back on it how did it feel to you?
"It was amazing," Cuban started. "You know, the playoffs run 57 days and for me it was 56 days, 23 hours and, you know, lots of minutes of pure stress and anxiety, and I really didn't start to enjoy it until there were about 30 seconds left in the game and it finally dawned on me that we had beaten the Evil Empire. And, all those doubts -- I mean, literally our first round against Portland people were calling us the one-and-done boys, meaning one series and we were going to be kicked out. We lost a game that we were up 23 points and rebounding from that, and then swept the Lakers and beat Oklahoma City and fell behind to Miami."
Now, here comes the interesting thing.
"But I'll tell you the interesting thing. After Game 3 of the Miami series (and the Heat leading 2-1), our guys said they aren't making any adjustments, we got them. And so, the confidence was through the roof."
Morgan asked Cuban what it felt like at that moment to win:
"I've watched the video and I just screamed. I just literally screamed, all that anxiety just letting it out."
Morgan interrupted and asked if Cuban thought of anybody at that moment:
"I thought of my dad, I thought of my wife, my brothers, and also the one thing I had planned -- because I am so superstitious I didn't want to jinx this -- was to bring down Donald Carter and his wife, who's the original founder of the Mavericks, and I wanted him to experience because he started the team and sleeps, lives and dies with the team."
Cuban continues with a heartfelt story about Carter and why he made it a point to have the man in the cowboy hat accept the Larry O'Brien Trophy:
"When we played L.A., he said to me, 'You know Mark, I don't know how much time I have left, but if we can win this it would be the crowning moment in my life.' And so, when we did win it that was the one thing I wanted to do, was let him hold the trophy up before any of us. And, that was a special moment."
Cuban ended the interview with an answer to a question Morgan phrased by saying if enough Americans decided they would like Cuban "to work his magic on America," what say he? ... He might have misheard the question: "I'm not going to buy another sports team."
It seemed a second attempt at a question earlier in the program about politics. With Cuban raising some hell on American politicians and sharing a few of his ideas to spur the economy, Morgan asked Cuban if he'd consider running for president: "Are you kidding me? Absolutely not. Never crossed my mind."
Ah, but would he have considered, asked Morgan at the top of the show, signing Michael Vick to a whopper of a deal if he he owned an NFL team?
"I have no idea."
Morgan quickly carried on, asking if Cuban would have any moral problem with it?
"You know, I try and get to know our guys and you try to figure out who the knuckleheads are and there are knuckleheads in every sport. And so, if I thought he was a knucklehead, then yeah, I wouldn't do it. If I thought he had grown and learned from his mistakes then I wouldn't have a problem.
Then Morgan couldn't resist, asking if there are any knuckleheads on Cuban's current team: