|ESPN.com: NBA Playoffs 2006||[Print without images]|
Mark Cuban fired back at The Miami Herald in his blog Tuesday after the paper printed this description of the post-Game 5 scene:
"Cuban then turned to Stern and other NBA officials who were seated at the scorer's table and was overheard to shout venomously in the jubilant din, '[Bleep] you! [Bleep] you! Your league is rigged!' "
The Mavericks owner denied saying games were rigged and said none of his ranting was directed at Stern.
"The games are not rigged," Cuban wrote. "That's a complete insult to the players on the court and the incredible amount of effort they put into preparing for and playing the games. All 82 regular-season and postseason games.
"The NBA couldn't rig the games if it wanted to. And it doesn't want to. It's that simple."
Cuban was irate over what he considered a series of officiating breakdowns at the end of Dallas' 101-100 overtime loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday night. The loss left the Mavericks trailing the series 3-2 and facing elimination going into Game 6 in Dallas on Tuesday night.
"Apparently The Miami Herald is reporting I screamed at the NBA commissioner after the game the other night," Cuban wrote Tuesday. "Didn't happen. Didn't say a word to the man. Not a single word. And that was absolutely by intention."
"Apparently this 'reporter' [writer Greg Cote] has written he has several 'sources.' Well they must be the same sources the tabloids use to find two-headed babys and aliens, because it didn't happen."
Cote responded later Tuesday, writing in his blog on the Herald's Web site that "I never believed Cuban actually believed the fix was on. I believed then, and do now, that, in context, an outspoken owner was venting in the heat of the moment at a raw, emotional time."
Cote wrote that he did not personally hear Cuban shout at Stern and apologized for using a quote passed to him by a source.
"In any case, however, I was wrong to use the quote. That doesn't mean the words were never said, denial notwithstanding. I was wrong, journalistically, to put quotation marks around words I did not personally hear. I would be wrong even if Cuban had not denied having said it."
|Fines of $200,000+||4|
|Fines of $100,000+||8|
|Total fine amount||$1,665,000*|
|* -- Through June '06|
Source: ESPN Research
"I don't think he is crazy. I think he is smart. I think his recent loss of self control is not planned and not calculated, and I think if he could, he would like to have some of it back," Stern said in an interview on San Francisco radio station KNBR. "Because at bottom, I really do believe it distracts the players and that can't be good. It sets a bad tone.
"He is very smart, he has to take credit and should be given credit for putting together a great team and giving his fans the entertainment experience in that building which is terrific. But at times I think he loses control and that is not healthy for either him or the game."
Cuban in his blog disputed that any of his postgame verbiage was directed at Stern.
Stern confirmed that account, telling Dan Patrick on ESPN Radio on Tuesday that he didn't hear any comments, shouted or otherwise, directed at him by Cuban despite being close enough to hear the Mavs owner.
Cuban wore a Stackhouse jersey Sunday in Miami in support of the suspended forward.
A half-hour after Game 5, Cuban was still boiling during a testy interview with reporters.
He wrote a blog entry Monday explaining why he used profanity during a response to a question about whether this was the worst loss he'd endured.
"The reality is that it would be a waste of both of our time if I gave him the 'This was a tough one' answer, and a waste of my time to really think about it, particularly given there were 10 other reporters wanting to ask questions and we had a bus to catch," Cuban wrote.NBA executives often praise Cuban for his passion, work ethic and high standards, even toward officiating.
Still, Stern told ESPN Radio 760 in West Palm Beach, Fla., that he wouldn't have a problem handing the championship trophy to Cuban if the Mavericks win the title. "I've been doing this for a long time and I have a very good relationship with the Dallas franchise," Stern said. "I was there when it was formed. I was just visiting with Donald Carter who is a shareholder and the initial owner and is still an owner. I visited with Ross Perot Jr. who is still an investor and sold the majority to Mark [Cuban] and I spend time with Mark as well. Franchises in their own way belong to cities, in any event, and I would be very happy to award a trophy to either the good city of Miami, or the good city of Dallas."
|Mark Cuban ranted in Miami on Sunday and in his blog the past two days.|
Cuban practically turned getting fined into an art form after going from an owner of season tickets to owning the Mavericks.
The comment about him not hiring the league's head of officiating to manage a Dairy Queen landed Cuban as a manager for a day; he also donned pinstripes and officiated a Harlem Globetrotters game.
As his team improved, there were fewer stunts. He remained a visible, vocal critic, though, enough for some to suggest that his team ends up not getting the benefit of the doubt from officials.
Mavs supporters have brought that up again in the wake of three players getting suspended this postseason, with Stackhouse the most recent.
Cuban had several gripes about the play that sent Wade to the line, starting with Wade not being whistled for a collision that left Dallas' Jason Terry on the floor.
"I guess that's not a call," Cuban said. "I guess that's not a foul."
Between Wade's free throws, Dallas was charged its final timeout. The Mavs insist they were only talking about calling it after Wade's second foul shot so they could set up a final play and move the ball to the frontcourt.
"Josh Howard goes to Joe DeRosa and not only once, but twice asks for a timeout," crew chief Joey Crawford told a pool reporter. "Forced to call it, simple as that."
ESPN Insider Chris Sheridan and The Associated Press contributed to this report.