Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is surely enjoying the current iteration of the Lakers, who are going to win fewer than 30 games for the fourth consecutive season. But there is hope in La La Land, as Magic Johnson was recently promoted to president of basketball operations to usher in a new era of Showtime. The team also, Kobe Bryant’s former agent, as general manager and Magic’s right-hand man.
While most owners would give a generic, “I wish them the best in their new endeavors” (the NBA equivalent of someone writing “have a nice summer” in your yearbook), Cuban was brutally honest with Mark Medina of the Orange County Register about the Lakers’ new brain trust:
“I hope they fail miserably. I hope they fail horrifically,” Cuban said. “I hope Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka go down as the worst GM/President combination in the history of GM/President combinations. But I hope they live wonderful lives.”
The throw-in at the end of “I hope they have wonderful lives” may seem like a dig, but it speaks to a larger point about sports at this level -- you have to be able to separate business from your personal life.
As a person, Cuban surely wishes no ill will toward Magic or Pelinka. But as a competitor, he’d by lying if he said he wished them anything but failure. He wants them to miss out on every free agent, whiff on every draft pick and ostracize every one of their young, talented players until they run the franchise into the ground -- because that means one less team the Mavericks have to contend with.
Cuban did have some nice things to say about Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, who is currentlywith her brothers.
“Jeanie’s just special,” Cuban said. “She’s smart, she’s driven, she’s even-handed, open-minded. I have nothing but great things to say about Jeanie.”
Props to Cuban for speaking his mind and keeping it real, but we wouldn’t expect anything less.
Wink of the CBS eye to theScore