Mark Cuban teases David Stern
DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban might as well have been emceeing a roast when asked about NBA commissioner David Stern's announced plans to retire on Feb. 1, 2014.
The relationship between the outspoken Cuban and Stern has often been rocky over the years. Cuban's fine total, largely the result of his complaints about officiating, has reached well into the seven figures.
"Like I told the board of governors, I anticipate saving a lot of money going forward," Cuban said. "No, it won't be the same going forward without David. David has his stamp ... has left his imprint ingrained in everything about the NBA, so certainly there's going to be a transition.
I think I learned a lot from him -- what kind of doughnuts the office liked, what makes him mad -- and I think he learned a few things from me. I think it's been a positive overall for the league.” -- Mark Cuban on David Stern
"But Adam (Silver) will do a great job. I think if things go the way we want, the biggest decision and hurdle will be what trophy we name after David. I nominate the Most Fined in a Season Award, but it probably won't be my decision."
Cuban's fine totals have decreased significantly in recent years, as he has mellowed and been more carefully picking his spots to be critical of the league and officiating. However, Cuban also attributed the fewer fines to the evolving of his relationship with Stern.
"It took me a while to train him, but I eventually did," Cuban said while working out on an elliptical machine before the Mavs' preseason finale Friday. "I'm serious. I'll leave it at that."
Of course, it didn't take much prodding to get Cuban to elaborate.
"David and I have always had a lot of respect for each other," Cuban said. "We just don't always approach things the same way obviously, but we both had the same goal in doing what's best for the NBA. I think I learned a lot from him -- what kind of doughnuts the office liked, what makes him mad -- and I think he learned a few things from me. I think it's been a positive overall for the league.
"It's been incredibly enjoyable knowing that pretty much every other owner has called him to b---- about me a lot over these years, and I'm sure he'll miss that. But, like he said at the meeting, he's got a lot of gray hairs to show from my 12, going on 13 years (as Mavs owner), and he expects his hair to go to brunette the minute he retires."
Cuban did put the sarcasm on pause when he was asked what legacy Stern would leave after 30 years in the commissioner's office.
"I think it's one of a focus on growth and recognizing that the NBA is in the entertainment business and that it's a global product, not just a local product," Cuban said. "Whatever platforms that took us to, he was ready to go. He wasn't protective at all. He was wide open. I think that was great."