Monday, April 23, 2012
Mark Cuban blasts Olympic setup
By Jeff Caplan
CHICAGO -- Mark Cuban railing against the U.S. Olympic Committee profiting off the NBA stars he and other owners pay millions is nothing new.
The Dallas Mavericks owner took his chronic rant to Chicago over the weekend where his defending champions were playing the championship-contending Bulls. Before the game, Cuban was asked if he believes Team USA is in shambles on the heels of key injuries and two NBA stars recently suggesting players should be paid just months before the start of the 2012 Games in London.
"I hope so," Cuban said. "And you can quote me on that.
"I think it's the biggest mistake the NBA makes," Cuban said 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.
"And it has nothing to do with patriotism and it's all about money. You don't see the (International) Olympic Committee in Switzerland saying, 'Oh, we made so much money, let's give it to people.' How many jets do they have?"
Back in January, Cuban said he has gotten nowhere in convincing the NBA to get out of Olympic competition.
"The commissioner's office won't open it up to discussion. They just make a unilateral call," Cuban said then. "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."
The topic was raised this time after Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen were criticized for suggesting that Olympic athletes should be paid.
Cuban said he would have no problem allowing NBA stars to play in the Olympics if corporatism didn't rule the process.
"If they weren't making all kinds of money," Cuban said, "I'd be fine with it because then it's truly for the right reasons."
In his latest rant, Cuban said if that were the case then multibillion-dollar network and cable television rights should be stripped and the Olympics offered on television as part of the public domain.
"It's like when the president gives a speech, it's public domain, anybody who wants to put it out there can put it out there," Cuban said. "If you want to make this really about patriotism, you make it public domain. Look, if you don't have cable, you're not going to see a lot of what you're supposed to be so patriotic about."
Cuban said he would prefer to see the U.S. Olympic basketball roster filled out the way it used to be, with youngsters.
"I think just 22-and-under and I'm fine with that." Cuban said. "Develop it, get international experience, represent your country, that's all good."
Mavs point guard Jason Kidd was a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic team in 2008. No Mavs players will suit up for Team USA or any other country's national team in London. Dirk Nowitzki played for Germany last summer as it unsuccessfully attempted to qualify for a second consecutive Olympic berth.
However, Nowitzki's participation in last summer's Olympic qualifier also underscores the point made consistently by Cuban, who pays Nowitzki $19 million this season. Nowitzki got off to a slow start this season while dealing with a right knee issue that he attributed to playing internationally over the summer, which then skewed his training regimen during the lockout-extended offseason.
Nowitzki missed four games in late January to work on strengthening his knee.
Cuban never publicly criticized Nowitzki for representing his country or the Olympic process as a whole at the time, but that didn't mean he wasn't frustrated.
"I was going nuts, trust me," Cuban said. "I said, 'Are you kidding me?' But, I don't have the right to stop him."