Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has always shown an inability to bite his tongue since taking over the team. With this year’s team heading back to the winning ways they were known for just a few years ago, Cuban has been reinvigorated, and it could cost him some money after a recent loss to the Hawks. As he’s done throughout his tenure, Cuban did not mince words when he spoke about the league’s officiating.
Mark Cuban vs. the NBA
Cuban has been fined at least $2.6 million, although it should be noted that the league can also fine people in private, so the numbers could be even more. Cuban’s fines range from leaking information in 2019, commenting on DeAndre Jordan’s free agency in 2015, and a massive $600,000 fine for publicly acknowledging that the Mavericks’ best option was to tank the season.
Many of Cuban’s fines, however, stem from his non-stop criticism of the NBA and its referees. If the Mavericks lose a close game with even a slightly missed call, fans can be assured that Cuban will comment on it in one way or another, be it through social media or in a press conference. Cuban has made an art form of not only criticizing individual calls but the very process through which referees are selected.
If a team is believed to be getting away with something, especially in the playoffs, the league can expect a video package of their perceived crimes. Cuban complains so much about the NBA’s officiating, that the referees’ union has commented on what they believe to be an unfair influence on the league and how it handles referees.
The goaltending incident
Mark Cuban’s latest tantrum came when the Mavericks lost a close game to the Atlanta Hawks. Late in the game, with the Hawks up two, the officials blew a whistle right before John Collins converted on a follow-up basket.
Initially believed to be a goaltending call, the referees later said that an inadvertent whistle was blown. Cuban didn’t buy this explanation and took to Twitter to send multiple chastisements of the NBA’s officiating.
Crew chief Rodney Mott explained the call after the game.
“The ball was blocked and reviewed,” Mott said (per the New York Post). “The ball hit the rim, so it was deemed an inadvertent whistle because it was ruled a good block. By rule, it’s an inadvertent whistle. It’s Rule 2. Because he (Collins) was in his shooting motion when my whistle blew, it’s deemed a continuation, so therefore, the basket counts.”
Cuban once again wasn’t having any of it, stating that the problem wasn’t with this individual game, but for how the referees had been calling games since he first took over the Mavericks in 2000. While Cuban can be his own worst enemy, however, he might escape this latest incident without a find, as the league is looking into the confusion.
Will Mark Cuban win a protest?
Cuban’s criticism didn’t begin and end with his tweets. The Mavericks filed an official protest of the game, citing a perceived “misapplication of the rules,” according to Dallas News. The protest already cost Cuban the $10,000 filing fee that the league demands for protests, but if the league finds that the referees blew the call, Cuban’s outrage might not cost him any further.
Should the league accept Cuban’s protest, the two teams would likely be forced to play the final eight seconds with the Hawks up two points. The league rarely accepts protests, however, and if the L2M report is any indication, convincing Adam Silver to bow to the protest could be difficult. If the league does choose to fine Cuban, it might be in line with the $100k fines he’s had in the past.
Whether Cuban is right or wrong, his reputation precedes him when it comes to yelling at referees. He might occasionally get his way, but he also runs the risk of alienating himself in a league that already has him and his team on thin ice for other reasons. Cuban isn’t likely to change, and whether this specific incident costs him more money or not, he is likely to have another grievance very soon.