We already knew that Mark Cuban didn’t take the Mavericks’ 2006 NBA Finals loss to the Heat very well, but now we’re learning that the loss almost cost the NBA one of its best personalities. SlamOnline.com (via Fort-Worth Star Telegram) reports that Cuban was so upset about the officiating in that series, that he considered selling the franchise that he had purchased from Ross Perot just six years earlier. “We put out feelers,” Cuban said. “I was really questioning the integrity of the game. After 2006, I was probably ready to sell. But I took some time off.” Cuban went on to say that he now wants his kids to own the team one day.
I certainly understand Cuban’s beef with the officiating after that Finals series, but I think the Sacramento Kings got the business much worse than Dallas in Sacramento’s 2002 Western Conference Finals Series against the Lakers. I have long recognized the legitimacy of the perception held by some that the NBA is rigged to favor big-market teams, so with that understanding I don’t think that a series that featured two big markets (Dallas and Miami) is the kind of series that would be ripe for a conspiracy theory the way that Sacramento-L.A. was. Sure, the refs missed some calls in the 2006 Finals, but I think it had more to do with Dwayne Wade getting superstar calls than any kind of bias that the league held in favor of the Heat.
Basketball fans everywhere should be glad that Cuban decided to keep the Mavs. The NBA is a better league when owners like Mark Cuban are around.