Dallas Mavericks: Olympics

Mark Cuban 'thrilled' Stern looking at Olympics

May, 31, 2012
Mark Cuban's repeated criticism of the NBA for allowing its stars to play in the Olympics is no longer falling on deaf ears in the commissioner's office.

David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday that they are no longer sure they want to see NBA veterans playing in the Olympics beyond this summer's Games in London and will look into a 23-and-younger age limit, as soccer does.

The news came as a welcome surprise to Cuban, who touted a 22-and-younger age limit as recently as April.

"Yes, I'm thrilled," Cuban told ESPNDallas.com on Wednesday night.

The most outspoken of the league's owners regarding the NBA's participation in the Olympics and all international competition during the NBA's offseason, Cuban said in April that he believed the topic of NBA players' availability was a dead issue, saying, "The commissioner's office won't open it up to discussion. 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."

Silver made it clear Wednesday that Cuban's voice is resonating.

"And there's a recognition, certainly Mark Cuban, other owners have raised repeatedly the issue of our players playing in essence year-round when you add the Olympics to our newly renamed world championship of basketball to our World Cup of Basketball," Silver said. "So when you have the Olympics, the World Cup of Basketball, we are taking a very close look at whether it makes sense from an NBA standpoint and a global basketball standpoint for the top players to be playing at that level on a year-round basis, and somewhere (every) summer.

"So what we have told FIBA and what David has announced several times is that we are all in through the London Olympics, and then post-London Olympics we want to step back together with USA Basketball, led by Jerry Colangelo and Patrick Baumann in FIBA ... we need to take a long-term view of what makes sense both for the NBA and for the game."

Cuban detests that he and the other NBA owners must relinquish handsomely paid players to their national teams without any recourse if a player is injured during international competition. He has also argued that players and their teams should reap some financial gain, as well as railing against what he deems the corporate greed of FIBA, basketball's world governing body, the United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee.

"I think it's the biggest mistake the NBA makes," Cuban said in April of allowing NBA stars to compete in international competition. "If you look up stupid in the dictionary you see a picture of the USA Dream Team playing for free for corporate America so the U.S. Olympic Committee can make billions of dollars. So if you come up with something that you own that you can give to me for free so I can make billions of dollars, I want it."

Wednesday's announcement suggests Stern is growing increasingly wary of the toll year-round competition takes on the players' physical health as well as the quality and integrity of the NBA season. Stern and Silver said they still want NBA veterans to be eligible for the world championships staged every four years.

Cuban disagrees unless, he said Wednesday, fundamental changes are made to the structure of the world championship.

"(I'd be) more thrilled if the NBA starts its own world championship," Cuban said. "This way the revenues from the tourney could be shared with players. When the revenues go to FIBA, they get next to nothing. The teams get absolutely nothing."

One step at a time.

Like it or not, Mark Cuban has point on Olympics

April, 23, 2012

So Mark Cuban railed on the Olympics once again. What else is new? For years the Mavericks' owner has ranted against the process that allows NBA players to compete for their countries in international play, including the Olympics.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban says the idea of NBA players participating in the Olympics is "stupid."

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Cuban believes the Olympics is a corporate, money-grubbing machine and he hates that he must release the players he and other NBA owners pay millions to play internationally -- essentially loaning NBA employees to work elsewhere for free while lining corporate pockets. If a player is injured during international competition, it's the NBA team, its fan base and the owner's pocketbook that pays the price.

Whatever your take is on the Olympics -- and I'm a fan although I'm not quite sure why winning a gold medal in basketball took on at-all-cost importance -- Cuban is justified in his consistent pulpit-pounding on the subject.

Cuban has seen the health of his own players compromised in international competition. Who knows what kind of player Rodrigue Beaubois would be today if he had not broken his foot practicing with the French national team in preparation for the 2010 World Championships? Beaubois missed the first 54 games last season and was never fully healthy when he returned. The injury required a second surgery last summer and Beaubois' development this season has been an up-and-down venture.

"I think he’s still hesitant from the injury," Cuban said Saturday before Beaubois dislocated his left ring finger only to return to put up 16 points, five assists and six rebounds against the Bulls. "But I think as he gets more aggressive and just gets a killer, aggressive mindset, then he’s unstoppable."

The problem is, Beaubois hasn't shown that type of mindset since the bone in his foot snapped in the summer of 2010.

Dirk Nowitzki blamed his subpar physical condition (by his standards) entering this season on playing in the European Olympic qualifier tournament in the offseason, an attempt to lead Germany back to the Games. He said the tourney combined with the extended lockout messed up his training regimen and led to the swelling and stiffness issues he had with his right knee.

He missed four games in January to work on strengthening the knee after getting off to his slowest start since his rookie season. All the while, Cuban was thinking his superstar wouldn't be in this predicament without the international commitment.

"I was going nuts, trust me," Cuban said. "I said, 'Are you kidding me?' But, I don't have the right to stop him [from playing]."

And that's Cuban's main beef. Other owners don't step up because they don't want to appear unpatriotic. But the facts are that NBA owners have no say in the process. Cuban gets nothing out of allowing his players to join their national teams in the offseason, be it Team USA or any other.

Yet if his player gets hurt, Cuban and his fellow owners stand to lose a whole lot.

Should Dirk Nowitzki play for Germany?

July, 12, 2011

Should Dirk Nowitzki play for the German national team as it tries to qualify for the Olympics?

In our latest Hot Button feature, Jeff Caplan says Dirk should go for it, while Jeff "Skin" Wade argues that the big man needs to spend the offseason resting so he's at full strength for the Mavs' title defense.

Read the arguments and cast your vote here and join the discussion here.



Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9