On June 3, 30 NBA owners will gather to cast a vote that could ultimately result in the forced sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, a team currently owned by a now-notorious Donald Sterling. Among those NBA owners will be a very familiar name and face: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban is well known for his boldness and often unmatched enthusiasm. But when discussing Sterling’s case in an interview with Inc. magazine recently, he took it a little too far.
The owner and billionaire entrepreneur had this to say about his own bigotry:
“If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face — white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere — I’m walking back to the other side of the street.”
In case you’re wondering, the “black kid in a hoodie” did stir an immediate ruckus because of the Trayvon Martin shooting in 2012. Cuban took to Twitter to apologize for that, saying he “should have used different examples.” I think those who say this reference was a direct shot at Martin’s family are trying too hard to slam Cuban; I don’t believe he would have taken it that far. But the poor example certainly doesn’t help his case.
I have met with a few people who swear up and down the opinions of these top figures should have a push or pull in their job security. To an extent, yes. But those who argue that often forget the NBA is as much a business as it is a competitive sports league or entertainment service. Put moral and social opinions aside, what’s bad for business is bad for the NBA.
Those opinions aren’t attractive to a majority of fans, players, coaches, etc. And especially with two great playoff series currently running, it’s a shame our attention turns away from basketball. Comments like those made by Cuban will do just that, though. It doesn’t matter what side of the spectrum you belong to; when your every action and syllable is documented, you have to be conscious of what you’re putting out there.
Usually I would say Cuban is an extremely fun guy and I do love his boldness. But he crossed the line here, and he’s going to pay for it with a substantial amount of criticism, especially once he votes to determine the fate of Sterling here in a few weeks. No, Cuban is not a terrible person because of this. No, he should not find himself being legally punished by the NBA. But yes, he did take this one a little too far.