It’s nice to have the Dallas Mavericks in the postseason for an extended period of time. They have a good crowd and one of the best young players in the league. But regardless of whether it’s Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley, or Luka Dončić leading the team on the floor, since the turn of the millennium the constant guiding force for the Mavericks on the sidelines is Mark Cuban.
He’s not cut from the Jerry Reindsorf and Mickey Arison cloth of team owners. Cuban ushered in a new group that was more visible and not afraid to show you their enthusiasm for their team on the sidelines or when talking about them.
Cuban has been more well-known in recent years for Shark Tank than for his Mavericks being a perennial NBA contender, but that all changed this season. This team had expectations after consecutive first-round losses to the Los Angeles Clippers. The season started rough, but they would end up winning more than 50 games for the first time since 2015, and are in the Western Conference Finals after not advancing past the first round of the playoffs since 2011, when they won the NBA Championship.
Not only are the Mavericks players and coaches in postseason form, but so is Cuban. His team has been fined, and unlike in 2005, he can hop on social media and go straight to the people with his displeasure. He did so after the team was fined for its bench decorum for the third time this postseason. He tweeted out a video of Brooklyn Nets — from three years ago — with only one word, “pedigree.” Then he sent out a video of Draymond Green throwing a temper tantrum and sarcastically wrote, “our bench is out of control.”
For everything I don’t like about Cuban, I do enjoy his me-against-the-league attitude. Him yelling at referees and taking digs at David Stern was sometimes more entertaining than watching his perennial playoff contender play basketball games. I’m not about to go as far as saying this particular billionaire was somehow taking the elites to task. It was just fun watching him irritate Stern and people with old NBA sensibilities.
Mavericks players on the sidelines are always standing, which is against the rules. Players are allowed to be humans and react to big plays, but this is not football, or baseball. In basketball, players are extremely close to the action. Simply standing during play can create a distraction for opposing players, or at worst they could actually do something distracting. That is what really ticked the NBA off, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zilgitt.
During Game 2, Stephen Curry committed a turnover – not highly out of the ordinary — but this one was not him failing at his best Pistol Pete Maravich impersonation. He threw a pass toward the sideline, but it was to Theo Pinson of the Mavericks who was not only standing, but wearing a white and blue sweater. The Warriors were wearing their white uniforms with blue in that game.
The Mavericks got fined $100,000 this last time, and I personally would’ve had no problem with the NBA fining them $1 million and banning Pinson from the sidelines for the rest of the series. Anything that could dissuade teams from wearing white at home — the way that they should instead of alternate jersey No. 7 with colors not even in the team logo — should result in maximum punishment for disturbing my viewership experience. No more color rush playoff games.
The teams have been better at sticking to their home whites during this postseason, especially in this second round. So as much as I support Cuban’s reactions both on and off the court when he believes that his team has been wronged — and are happy to see them in the playoffs again — you all need to sit down. Because if I see a Game 6 in this series with the Warriors in black and the Mavericks in green I’m going to lose it.