Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic has been a wonder for Mark Cuban and his team. Doncic is a 19-year-old sensation, a seasoned pro already from his years in Europe. He’s something to celebrate, and Cuban has no doubt bought into Doncic as the face of the franchise moving forward from Dirk Nowitzki.
Still, Cuban is a man of strong opinions and this week he issued a certified hot take to Eurohoops.net. Speaking to George Efkarpides, Cuban said that he did not like AAU basketball and that the basketball education in a place like Slovenia was far more immersive from a younger age than it is in America.
Cuban then suggested that if American players were sent to Slovenia they would be better professionals in the NBA later in life.
[Q]: How important is it that he’s had top basketball experience outside the NBA?
“It is important because you’re used to people being older than you but I think he just learned how to play basketball and that’s the biggest gift. When you’re gifted as he is and you actually learn to play the game. If you look at the basketball education of kids starting at 11-years old in Europe and particularly Slovenia which is basketball oriented.
If we took our best kids and seven years before they are McDonald’s all-American, we sent them over to Slovenia to get an education, the league would be a thousand times better. They just learn how to play basketball while our guys learn how to dunk and put together mixtapes”.
This isn’t strictly true of course, and although the supposition is rhetorical it’s also outlandish and perhaps a bit too ingratiating to Doncic on Cuban’s part. More than anything it’s too much of a knock on American players, of which the NBA is largely comprised.
Dallas’ own Harrison Barnes took exception to Cuban’s statement about AAU basketball and U.S. players, and issued a statement to The Undefeated about it.
This will probably die down between Cuban and Barnes. The two are allowed to have their own opinions, and voice them in the public as they have here. It’s not some sort of threat that could cause actual issues on the floor, so we can probably just file it away under “Crazy Things Mark Cuban Said” and call it a night.