|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
DALLAS -- Hatred for the Miami Heat is healthy for the NBA, according to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Cuban, whose Mavs' 2011 Finals victory is the lone time the Heat have been beaten in a playoff series since LeBron James' migration to Miami, believes the league benefits from the polarizing nature of the two-time defending champions.
"With the two titles, they're still like the bad guys," Cuban told reporters Friday. "There's a confidence bordering on arrogance that is good for them as a team and good for us as a league because it also makes them the team that everybody wants to knock off.
"They're kind of in some respects the Oakland Raiders -- and I know that's going to get picked up everywhere. They're kind of like the Oakland Raiders when they were winning. I don't want to compare Micky [Arison] to Al Davis -- that's not fair -- but you either love them or hate them.
"That's always good for the NBA when you have a team that everybody looks forward to beating. Like when we beat them, I would go to places I've never been and people would give me a standing ovation. That's good for the NBA."
Of course, Cuban's harsh feelings toward the Heat had deep roots long before James' decision to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.
He's still bitter about the Heat beating the Mavs in the 2006 Finals, a series that will forever be remembered in Dallas for two things: the Mavs blowing a 2-0 series lead and controversial officiating.