Fightin’ Words: Mark Cuban v. the NBA

Were the NBA champion Mavericks locked out from the traditional opportunity to meet President Obama? 
Wed January 4, 2012 3:17 am
JD Lasica | SocialMedia.biz
The NBA champion Dallas Mavericks will visit President Barack Obama at the White House on January 9, but according to Mavs owner Mark Cuban, that's no thanks to his old friends at the NBA league office as the team was forced to schedule the trip on its own.

Most defending champions (in any sport) get their presidential kudos when they've already got a road trip to D.C., but this year's lockout-shortened schedule erased two different Mavs at Wizards contests (one in the preseason and one in the regular season). Once the lockout ended, the league's schedule makers did not restore the matchup, a choice that Cuban says is "bull----," according to  Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas :

Cuban said he was appalled when the NBA released the condensed, 66-game schedule after the lockout and a trip to play the Washington Wizards was not on the schedule.

Cuban said he didn't bother to call the league to complain, but rather asked team CEO Terdema Ussery to call the White House.

"There's no point in calling them. It's bull---- by the league not to schedule it," Cuban said. "I figured I'd do it myself since the league wasn't smart enough to figure it out. How can you be that stupid? All you've got to do is when you're putting in the scheduling software, say Dallas at Washington, yes. They managed to get Dallas and Miami and all the games set on certain days."

Instead, the Mavs will travel from Dallas to Washington on Sunday, then continue on to Detroit, where they play the Pistons on Tuesday.

But while it's kind of nice to have the louder, aggravated, NBA-attacking Cuban back after all the low-key silence and good vibes of last year's playoff run, NBA spokesman Tim Frank says that in truth, the league assisted with scheduling the Mavericks' White House trip—and that even if the Mavs had made a visit to D.C. to play the Wizards, who's to say that President Obama would have been in town? 

"Our jurisdiction doesn't extend to scheduling the president," Frank dryly told Caplan. "We learned that he would be available on Jan. 9 and began working with the Mavericks to accommodate that availability and the Mavericks' schedule."

The Associated Press reported that Cuban has revised his original comment somewhat, saying in an email "that the team 'took the lead' and included the league in its plans."

Writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News , "it's a good thing the team that won the championship didn't bicker like this or they would never have had a chance to set up a trip to D.C."

(Photo by JD Lasica/ SocialMedia.biz)

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