June 20, 2006

NBA Owner Feels the Heat: Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban, who became $250,000 poorer today: "The games are not rigged. Thats a complete insult to the players on the court and the incredible amount of effort they put into preparing for and playing the games. All 82 regular season and post season games. The NBA couldnt rig the games if it wanted to. David Stern couldn't find his rear-end with a GPS receiver. You think he could fix a game? Free Jerry Stackhouse! Dwyane Wade committed a back court violation! Get HDTV! Go Mavs!"

posted by rcade to basketball at 02:12 PM - 37 comments

Part of me wishes the games were rigged. At least that's a correctable problem. The reality - that the NBA is the worst officiated sport going (while fully admitting that it's probably more difficult to call than any other) - is much harder to fix. I don't have the answers, but as a customer, as Cuban so classically puts it, I am sick to death of seeing these one-out-of-every-five-playoff-games-in-a-given-series will be indirectly decided by baaaaaaadd officiating. (And no, I don't think the Super Bowl was decided by bad officiating, please return to Starbucks and point your finger where it belongs -squarely at Mike Holmgren.) And for the love of God - to death with the 2-3-2 format. Please, I'm begging you. It's another credibility thing in my mind.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:29 PM on June 20

Cuban means right but does wrong. His antics, constant complaining, and attitude are wearing on the fans. Dallas should win in seven so stop with the whining and leave it to Bill Parcells.

posted by mustang71 at 02:47 PM on June 20

My name is not "the fans," so mustang doesn't speak for me. But I think Cuban is right, as is Weedy.

posted by chicobangs at 02:54 PM on June 20

That blog is painful to read. Mark Cuban should spend some of his money on a writing class or two.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 02:57 PM on June 20

I have to agree that the NBA officiating is amongst the poorest in all of sports...but you can't stop the play just to dispute one call...Wade was not fouled, but I want to someone blog about their own players getting fair treatment and complain...huh huh??? Any takers???? More credit needs to go to Miami for ATTACKING Dallas while the Mavs settle for jumpers. Wade was in stealth mode all the way on South Beach...lets see him take it to Dallas for Game 6.

posted by chemwizBsquared at 03:20 PM on June 20

In every sport, from little league to the pros, the loser always complains of some kind of unfairness. It is just human nature. If Dallas wins, do you think they complain about the refs? I was at a u-12 soccer game last week. The score was 9-0. Quess what the losing team cried about?.....Yes, the Refs. WHAT ?!!!!!!!??? I could not believe it. You get romped 9-0 and the first thing you can think of is the REFS. Give me a break. I love the Mavs as much as anyone...but as long as there is sport, the REFS will be the biggest excuse for losing. The refs are a part of the game. Just deal with it and overcome. Once Dallas wins, we won't hear anymore about the REFS.

posted by Dallas at 03:21 PM on June 20

While I don't think the game is rigged, I think that NBA officials tend to lean very favorably toward star players. LeBron James, DeWayne Wade, and especially Shaq have recieved tons of calls their way during the playoffs. The last game as well as the Stackhouse case are perfect examples. The officiating is garbage and is dramatically affecting the outcomes of the game. It is very irritating to watch one of these superstars knock over another player and not get a foul, and then get sent to the free throw line after a light tap. The favoring has been evident for a while, but it has just become disgusting in the playoffs. Combined with the NBA's customary bad officiating the calls officials are making are having a negative outcome on the game. His solution: better explanations by the league of what happened and why. Cuban has every right to want that. Why wasn't Wade called for that offensive foul and backcourt violation. Whenever anybody in the league makes a comment about officiating, they are fined. While it may not be good to publically lambast the officials, sometimes the player/coach/owner has a perfectly good reason to do so, like Cuban does. The league needs to accept responsability for horrible officiating, instead of punishing those who notice it. While Cuban can be overbearing at times, the fact that he is willing to speak out against something like this is very good. Maybe the bad publicity will provoke the NBA into action.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:23 PM on June 20

Yet another generous donation by Cuban to the Stern's Obvious Referee Empathy (S.O.R.E.) fund. Refs are human too (well..Steve Javie and Dick Bavetta might not be considered human by some) so Mark's comments may not help the Mavs' causes. I support his right to speak out, however, and hope that NBA officiating does come under review in the off-season.

posted by curtangle at 04:07 PM on June 20

There have been a number of questionable calls this postseason. The dubious nature of the officiating has been noted by winners, losers, commentators, and fans alike. Its been uneven all year. The way things are now, you can't touch anyone on the perimeter, but you can bludgeon someone trying to box out. As a result of the perceived inbalance, postseason play has been more "physical" than in years past. I think that the league should up the number of refs on the court from 3 to 4. 1 at the baseline, 1 on each sideline, and 1 at half court. Endline infractions would be easier to enforce with each ref having an unobstructed view. Plays both on the perimeter and the interior would have at least 2 refs who could make the call.

posted by lilnemo at 04:11 PM on June 20

About Cuban's writing skills or lack thereof: Somehow I picture Mark typing his blog (s) while ice-grilling a framed photo or a .jpg of David Stern and/or (fill in ref's name here ___________.)

posted by curtangle at 04:11 PM on June 20

there's no question the officiating in the NBA is the worst of all pro sports. everyone gets hosed by the refs at some point during the season/playoffs-the mavericks don't have the exclusive on that. no matter what cuban says, i don't think the NBA has a vendetta against cuban himself or the mav's organization. so a couple of calls didn't go the mav's way at the end of game 5-so what? it's about time the mavericks had a little bad luck in these playoffs...good luck is what got them past the spurs. i don't remember cuban complaining about the officiating after the bad calls at the end of game 3 and 4 in the spurs series. those two foul calls (both on dirk, coincidentally) allowed dallas to put the game in their favor. cuban says he wants the officiating to get better in the NBA but doesn't complain when the calls go in his teams favor. so now he comes off as nothing more than a whiny, hypocritical jackass.

posted by ksb122 at 04:40 PM on June 20

i think david stern is getting exactly what he wants in these playoffs, but no one could ever prove it

posted by graymatters at 04:54 PM on June 20

Mark Cuban should spend some of his money on a writing class or two. He goes one better. Whenever he's fined he donates a matching amount to charity. By the way, David Stern (per his interview on PTI) heard none of the comments Mark Cuban was reported to have made, and refuses to say why he fined him. David Stern has completed his transformation from commissioner to despot. Even though I am not a Mav fan, I truly hope the Mavs triumph. Nothing could be sweeter than seeing him hand Cuban the trophy.

posted by hoosiermama at 05:02 PM on June 20

By the way, David Stern (per his interview on PTI) heard none of the comments Mark Cuban was reported to have made, and refuses to say why he fined him. He also offered a bunch of criticism for Cuban, making him sound like a nutbar who has lost control. The lack of reciprocity here is galling -- Stern feels free to talk trash in public about Cuban but won't entertain criticism in the other direction. The NBA management is a disgrace.

posted by rcade at 05:54 PM on June 20

I might be the only one who thinks so, but I think refs are a part of the show. You don't see that now because most refs are robotic and faceless. But I remember when the refs were theatrical and showy and arrogant. I hated that -- but at least the guys had impeccable judgement. And on the court, everyone knew who was in charge. I'm not saying I wish for the good old days (I'm not that old), but I'd like it if the refs were allowed to have faces. That way people could complain about one guy and not a whole profession like say "the media." If Earl Strom was still around and calling Finals games, he'd probably punch Cuban in the face.

posted by forrestv at 06:50 PM on June 20

And for the love of God - to death with the 2-3-2 format. Yes, Weedy, Yes! Death to the 2-3-2! Why for the love of God is it 2-2-1-1-1 until the Finals? Screw the networks! Let'em work for a living like everyone else. The only thing stupider is having the All-Star game decide home field advantage for the World Series (but I guess that's another discussion).

posted by cjets at 07:11 PM on June 20

rcade, agreed about the Stern interview. Just don't agree to it if you have nothing useful to say. You know what the show is and what kind of treatment you'll get. Don't give us the "I'm not willing to talk about the one thing I'm here to talk about". As for 2-3-2, seconded. The drama of the Celtics-Lakers tilts in the 80s was only enhanced by those off-days around games 6 and 7.

posted by yerfatma at 07:36 PM on June 20

During the Bird era the Celtics never committed more fouls than an opponent in any playoff series, win or lose. The odds of that are infinity. What conclusion can you draw from that? Cuban is 100% right.

posted by bob a. at 07:44 PM on June 20

Last I checked refs would'nt let a close game in the play-offs be decided by a rinky-dink foul, you had to really hammer a guy. in the replays Dirk is obviously nowhere near Wade, (I think it was) Howard might have got him on the leg. I watched Duncan get clobbered towards the end of a game in this years series v.s. the Mavs & there was no call, sending the game to o.t. Now I am no fan of the Mavs orSan Antoinio, but there has to be someconsistency. Even though I don't like him, Cuban has a right to be pissed at the officiating ( did anyone see Shaq break Stackhouses' nose or hard foul him with his arms sending him to the ground later in the same game? Jerry was COMPLETELY justified delivering that hard foul. That's just basketball right there, and those plays should be remembered by the league when it comes to handing out suspesions or fines. Is the answer a instant replay system? Maybe a couple a game for each team with a challenge system like football can of worms? what does everyone think? We need something to NOT have a rinky dink call affect a championship.

posted by Captain Shugg at 07:51 PM on June 20

During the Bird era the Celtics never committed more fouls than an opponent in any playoff series, win or lose. The odds of that are infinity. What conclusion can you draw from that? That CBS was probably right to fire Tommy.

posted by yerfatma at 08:20 PM on June 20

Jumping Jesus, will someone on the Mavs please drive the lane? This is not the same team that beat San Antonio and Phoenix.

posted by Ufez Jones at 09:33 PM on June 20

I have to disagree with almost all the comments above. With a few notable exceptions, the NBA officials are all very good. It's an incredibly fast and powerful game that evolves every five-ten years. Sure you or I can watch a replay of a split-second event ten times and deliver a better judgement - anyone could. But that's not the nature of the game. The real travesty is the complaining and antics allowed after every damn call, no matter how obviously warranted. The league needs to hand out techs for every complaint, at least until the culture is changed. Argue with an official? Two free throws for the other team. Do it again? Goodbye. Right now the league officials are treated with absolutely no respect, compassion or decency, and it's hard to watch. As for Cuban's rants and the league fine, that's just Manny Cuban being Cuban. Did you really expect any different?

posted by dusted at 10:04 PM on June 20

dusted - I was wondering when some NBA corporate shill would show up on SpoFi. Bill Simmons, who predicted the refs would give Miami at least two games in his Finals preview, wrote some interesting stuff in his column today regarding the officiating this past season and the refs chosen to call this series thus far. Check it out: And Ufez, you're right. As soon as they stopped driving they lost.

posted by hoosiermama at 11:11 PM on June 20

Hoosiermama: Compare user numbers before the next time you pull rank on somebody. Dusted's been here three full years more than you have.

posted by rcade at 11:35 PM on June 20

rcade: Aye, aye, Sir. Permission to come aboard and express an opinion not in keeping with the established rank and file, Sir. Seriously, I was not aware of the hierarchy and I apologize if I offended dusted. But I think dusted could tell me that without your help.

posted by hoosiermama at 12:02 AM on June 21

Cool, I have rank! Can I be a Rear Admiral? I'm not offended. I think I just had a very different perspective on these playoffs because I liked both teams about equally. Without a horse in the race, I saw a ton of bitching from both sides, which sort of ruined the games. Captain Shugg does make a good point, however: Last I checked refs would'nt let a close game in the play-offs be decided by a rinky-dink foul, you had to really hammer a guy. As for being a NBA shill, try a search of my comments regarding my favorite ref Steve Javie. But yeah, the lack of respect for refs is something that's bothered me for a long time.

posted by dusted at 12:42 AM on June 21

Admiral dusted - Mea culpa on the shill comment - I didn't mean to be so harsh. I still think the refs have to earn respect however, and they didn't in this series. As I said before, while I'm not a Mavs fan I think they got the short end of the stick and you can lay that squarely at the feet of the officials. And I think the bitching will abate, at least somewhat, when the refs start calling it evenly. Win or lose, that's all any fan wants - a fair game.

posted by hoosiermama at 12:55 AM on June 21

Seriously, I was not aware of the hierarchy and I apologize if I offended dusted. But I think dusted could tell me that without your help. Why does Dusted have to be the one to tell you the "shill" dig was a cheap shot?

posted by rcade at 01:11 AM on June 21

Because it was directed at dusted, not you, rcade.

posted by hoosiermama at 01:14 AM on June 21

If we took "I was wondering when some NBA corporate shill would show up on SpoFi." and replaced it with "I was wondering when some jackhole smartass would show up on SpoFi," would anyone object? It's not directed at anyone, just a thought.

posted by forrestv at 01:34 AM on June 21

Because it was directed at dusted, not you, rcade. Except that rcade is an admin and on a hierarchy he would be SpoFi god... Dusted, while I don't agree with everything you said, the complaining after every call has to stop. The Pistons are my favorite team, but this year it got very bad as they were complaining after everything. Sometimes a player should have the right to be upset, but when every call is being complained about that isn't a good thing.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:44 AM on June 21

I'm the Spofi Zeus. My omnipotence remains unknown because in addition to being all-powerful, I am quite sneaky. Dusted, I'm not a fan of all the bitching either - and I agree that it stops being gamesmanship and becomes just bitching after the eleventh occassion, but I still think the officiating is pretty deplorable.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:09 AM on June 21

Captain Shugg does make a good point, however: After the rear admiral comment I was expecting his name to be simply "shugg" and that dusted had declared him a captain. BTW, I am just a lowly seaman.

posted by tron7 at 09:03 AM on June 21

(and now for the barnacles on the hull to be heard from) Didn't see any of the games, didn't see any of the officiating. That said, take this as just observation from an official.... If the ref's dont 'T' someone up there may be several reasons..... The league has told them NOT to do so unless there is specific action (i.e. 'F-bombs', personal contact); They know that they made a bad call, and will take the justified criticism; They know that if they suddenly start calling all of these 'T's that you seem to want, then a whole other can of worms gets opened. That being, how long will it take for the players/coaches/managers/fans to start saying the referrees are thin-skinned, or have 'rabbit-ears' and that they are now TRULY impacting the outcome of the game. Will you be satisfied that the game was decided on the free throw line because a player had a complaint? do you want to see the 8th, 9th, 10th player getting more than 20 minutes because the starter got 2 for being emotional? I am not saying that the 'T' is not a viable tool, but, be careful what you wish for......

posted by elovrich at 10:04 AM on June 21

Because it was directed at dusted, not you, rcade. Did you check for the presence of underground power lines before you began digging that hole, HM?

posted by rcade at 12:13 PM on June 21

Reading the paper I saw Stern quoted on saying that players, owners, and coaches had to be held accountable for their actions. Like rcade said above, what about the commisioner and more importantly the refs. The minute someone says something about the refs, whether it be in an interview or a blog, they are fined. It doesn't matter if their point is the most valid one in the world, the NBA refs seem to be untouchable.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 12:21 PM on June 21


posted by yerfatma at 12:53 PM on June 21

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