Mark Cuban traveled with his Mavericks to New York to see them take on a struggling Knicks team at Madison Square Garden on Monday, and as he often does in major media markets, he met with reporters briefly before the game to discuss the news of the day.
In this case, the story of Jason Collins being signed to a 10-day contract by the Nets and becoming the first openly gay active professional athlete to play in one of the four major sports leagues is what’s dominated NBA headlines for the last 24 hours.
Cuban, however, didn’t seem to see what all the fuss was about.
“I think it’s no big deal and that’s exactly the way it should be,” Cuban said before the Mavericks played the reeling Knicks at MSG. “He’s been playing in the league forever. The guy’s known. As long as they get their ass kicked in the playoffs, that’s all I care about.”
On the Collins phenomenon, Cuban continued, “At some point it becomes something to talk about, and now there’s nothing to talk about. Moving on.” …
“That’s just the way it works,” Cuban said. “It was [a big deal] until it isn’t, and now it’s not. Next. Nothing more to talk about. I mean, I don’t give a [expletive] about a guy’s sexuality. Period, end of story.”
Cuban’s comments come off as dismissive in print, but you can see what he was getting at.
It’s a huge step forward for an openly gay athlete to be accepted into what has traditionally been an overly-aggressive culture in professional sports that has, on the surface, seemed less than tolerant of different lifestyles.
Cuban was trying perhaps a bit too hard to prove a point that this shouldn’t be such a hot topic for discussion, and maybe the next time the NBA finds one of its athletes in the same situation, it won’t be. But it’s a bit disingenuous to pretend that the Collins signing isn’t a “big deal,” because it is — and it’s something worth celebrating.
Bob Bass, former GM in San Antonio and Charlotte, dead at 89
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Bob Bass, the former San Antonio and Charlotte general manager who was an integral part of the front office for most of the Spurs’ first 20 years in South Texas, has died. He was 89.
Bass’ death was confirmed by the club Saturday in a statement from coach Gregg Popovich. The San Antonio Express-News reported that Bass died Friday at home in San Antonio after a series of strokes.
“Over the course of four decades, Bob Bass had a huge impact in both the ABA and NBA,” Popovich said in a statement released by the team. “BB was a true pioneer in the world of professional basketball. His knowledge, passion and dedication to the game were inspiring. We send our condolences to the entire Bass family.”
After getting hired as coach during the Spurs’ second season in San Antonio in 1974-75, Bass joined the front office as general manager when the club moved from the ABA to the NBA in 1976.
The two-time NBA Executive of the Year spent 20 seasons with the Spurs in various roles – returning three times as coach – before going to Charlotte as the GM in 1994. He spent nine seasons with the Hornets. Bass coached his alma mater of Oklahoma Baptist from 1952-1967, first joined the ABA as coach of the Denver Rockets in 1967-1968. He went back to college at Texas Tech from 1969-1971, then back to the ABA with the Floridians in 1971-1972 and the Memphis Tams in 1973-1974 before landing with the Spurs.
Bass had a 311-300 career regular-season coaching record in the ABA and NBA.
What is Jamal Crawford looking for in a new home? “Fit”
It’s a little surprising Jamal Crawford is still available as a free agent. Yes, he is 38, and his skills and his efficiency have slipped in recent years, but the man can still get buckets off the bench and averaged 10.3 points per game last season in Minnesota.
He turned down an $4.5 million player option and is still waiting for a contract. What is he looking for? He talked about it with Percy Allen of the Seattle Times, in a story about the amazing pro-am Crawford runs in Seattle every summer.
The three-time Sixth Man of the Year is an unrestricted free agent, which he said is equally worrisome and exciting…
“Fit is first and foremost when I’m thinking about where I’ll play next,” said Crawford, who wants to play another 2-3 years. “Last year, I may have made the mistake of not thinking fit all the way through.
“You look at my career, when the fit was right, I contributed on the court. … I know people that care for me want me to win (an NBA title), but I don’t know if my career will be defined by that.”
Crawford’s name was rumored with contenders such as Golden State and Houston, but nothing came of any of it. At this point Crawford is not going to be able to be as picky about fit, he may have to look at any offers that come in.
Most teams’ rosters are set, and at this point in the summer most teams are happy with their rosters, or at least have talked themselves into being happy with it. Crawford may be a guy who gets a call a couple weeks into training camp, or a week or two into the season, when a team realizes its bench was not as impressive as it thought. There are teams he could still help, even if those teams don’t realize it yet.
Scout on Rodney Hood: ‘Cleveland can get him for a song and dance at this point’
Hood’s problem is he’s a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer for him. No team was interested enough in his skills — after last season when the Jazz traded him away to Cleveland and he struggled to get off the Cavs’ bench — to come in over the top with an offer the Cavs wouldn’t match, so teams never tied up their money with an offer. He still has no contract in front of him to sign.
“Cleveland can get him for a song and dance at this point. I don’t think anyone else wants him, which is surprising because I really liked him in Utah. Utah just let him fly. I was impressed with how he came back in the Finals as an ‘I’ll show you’ game.
“I always liked him. He’ll be good in Cleveland because Cleveland’s going to be bad, and they’ll need his scoring. Who else are they going to go to? He’ll get quality minutes on that roster. How could he not? I’m not sure how tough he is, though. He can put up big scoring numbers on a bad team.”
It’s incredible how far Hood’s stock fell in one season. Heading into last season he expected to be the go-to scorer of the Utah Jazz (Donovan Mitchell became that guy). By the end of the season he barely got off the bench in Cleveland (and in one case would not get off the bench), although once put into the Finals he showed by Tyronn Lue should have gone to him earlier.
Hood’s options at this point are to play for the $3.4 million qualifying offer and become a free agent next summer, or work out a deal with the Cavaliers for a couple of seasons at a number he likes.
Baron Davis vs. Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis in Big3 championship showdown next Friday
The Big3 finals are set — and there are a lot of names NBA fans will know.
On one side is Cuttino Mobley, Corey Maggette, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and Chris “The Birdman” Andersen of top-ranked Power. They are coached by former NBA assistant coach and Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman — and they had to sweat out their semi-finals win.
On the other side are DerMarr Johnson, Baron Davis, Drew Gooden, and Andre Emmett of 3’s Company, the three seed, who are coached by Lakers’ legend and NBA/WNBA coach Michael Cooper. Emmett got them to the finals.
Power and 3’s Company will face off to decide the Big3 title next Friday night in Brooklyn (live on Fox at 8 p.m. Eastern). The semi-finals drew a record crowd in Dallas, and the league has seen its ratings climb on its regular live Friday night slot (they drew 1.47 million viewers this past Friday, roughly the same as an NBA regular season game). All of that has to make Ice Cube happy.
It will be an interesting matchup. Power has been the team to beat all season, with a balanced scoring attack led by Maggette, who has the second most points in the league (behind the legendary Ricky Davis, a player beloved by NBA Twitter, with good reason). In the clutch though Power has looked to Big Baby and his power game inside.
However, Emmett — the former Texas Tech standout from when Bobby Knight coached the team, who was a second-round NBA draft pick and has spent most of his career overseas — may well be the MVP of the league. He is capable of taking over the one-game Finals and making the upset a reality.