Mark Cuban bought the majority of the Mavericks back in 2000 for $285 million (current Forbes estimated value, $685 million) then proceeded to change the culture of what had been one of the worst run franchises in the league. In 2011 Dallas got its NBA title and has become a destination free agents seriously consider.
And it’s all thanks to former Dallas star Mark Aguirre.
The three-time All-Star and two-time NBA Champion (with the Bad Boy Pistons) told the story to the Star-Telegram of him being the connection between Cuban and the Perot family.
No one knows if the introduction would have eventually happened. But it was Mark Aguirre who introduced Mark Cuban to Ross Perot Jr., thus leading to the ownership change of the Dallas Mavericks…
“Even before he became the Mark Cuban, you can’t mistake him because the guy loved the Mavericks,” said Aguirre, who worked a free clinic for underprivileged kids Saturday at the Sports Authority in Plano. “Once he did all his things with Broadcast.com, we talked and I knew he loved [the team] so much that I said, ‘Would you have an interest in buying the Mavericks?’
“At that point Ross [Perot Jr.] was considering selling them, so I said Mark might be the best person to talk to, and he said he was interested. So at that point, I made sure I got the introductions right and then everything after that is history. Mark bled Mavericks and he wanted to own the team, so it was the right timing, the perfect match.”
Cuban had been a Mavericks season ticket holder before he owned the team and, the way Aguirre describes it Cuban was as demonstrative on the sidelines then as he is now.
If you’re a player, wouldn’t you want to be with an owner who has that kind of passion for the team? It’s far from the only factor (as the past couple free agent summers have shown in Dallas) but it matters. It’s why you get the feeling one way or another Cuban will figure it all out.
Without question, some kneeling/raised fist protests of the National Anthem are coming to the NBA once preseason games start in a couple of weeks. Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers has already come out saying “there’s no more American thing to do than to protest.” Teams are discussing the need for social change.
While the NBA has a rule that players must stand for the anthem, the NBA and players’ union are already discussing exactly how and if that rule should be enforced.
While some players will kneel, Russell Westbrook will not be among them. Probably. Here’s is what he told Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript.
Obviously, Westbrook is leaving himself some wiggle room here. Also, if there is one NBA star you can expect to be blunt about the situation when talking to the media, it’s Westbrook (when he feels like opening up to the media, anyway).
I expect few if any of the NBA’s top stars — the guys with the biggest international brands — will join the protests. However, there certainly will be players taking part. For a league that sees itself as progressive — and has a more politically progressive fan base compared to other American sports — how the league handles this will be watched.
Tributes have poured in all over the NBA world since Kevin Garnett announced his retirement on Friday afternoon — from other players, commissioner Adam Silver and media members who covered him. Garnett and Tom Thibodeau have a lengthy history together: Thibodeau coached Garnett in Boston as an assistant under Doc Rivers, and they won a championship in 2008. This spring, Thibodeau took over as head coach and president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that drafted Garnett, saw his best years and saw him end his career. Thibodeau released a heartfelt statement on Saturday congratulating Garnett:
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank Kevin for all of his great accomplishments and contributions to the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves organization, and for me personally with the Boston Celtics. Kevin combined great talent with a relentless drive and intelligence. I will always cherish the memories of the way in which he led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA Championship. His willingness to sacrifice and his unselfishness led us to that title. Kevin will always be remembered for the way in which he played the game. His fierce competitiveness, his unequalled passion for the game, and the many ways in which he cared about this team was truly special. KG is without question the all-time best player to wear a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey, and he is also one of the best to ever play this game.”
It’s a shame that Thibodeau didn’t get to coach Garnett again in Minnesota, but the team is in good hands with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Indiana Pacers have been a franchise for 50 years — 10 in the ABA and 40 in the NBA. To celebrate this anniversary, they’ve unveiled a new patch that they will wear on their uniforms this season. You can check it out below:
It looks pretty sleek, combining the Pacers’ logo with the zero in “50.” It’s subtle and well-designed.
This summer, three of this generation’s defining NBA players, and three of the greatest players of all time, called it a career: Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. The latter two in particular had a lot in common, as psychotic competitors and polarizing personalities. They had many memorable battles over the years, including the Lakers-Celtics Finals in 2008 and 2010 (they each won one) and the playoffs in 2003 and 2004, when Garnett was in Minnesota. On Saturday afternoon, a day after Garnett officially announced his retirement, Kobe paid tribute to him with a tweet.
The next time they’ll be together is 2021, when they go into the Hall of Fame together.