Mavs owner Cuban says Jason Collins story is 'no big deal'
NEW YORK -- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Monday night that the Nets signing the league's first openly gay active player, Jason Collins, is "no big deal and that's exactly the way it should be."
NEW YORK -- Mark Cuban never misses a trip to Madison Square Garden, where he has been known to entertain the masses through engaging a scraggily crew of recorder-toting media types in pregame dialogue.
On Monday night, Cuban weighed in on the biggest story in the NBA of the past 24 hours, one that he believes already has run its course: the Nets signing openly gay player Jason Collins to a 10-day contract.
"I think it's no big deal and that’s exactly the way it should be," Cuban said before the Mavericks played the reeling Knicks at MSG. "He's been playing in the league forever. The guy's known. As long as they get their ass kicked in the playoffs, that's all I care about."
On the Collins phenomenon, Cuban continued, "At some point it becomes something to talk about, and now there's nothing to talk about. Moving on."
But Collins' preseason announcement that he is gay, and the Nets' decision to sign him to a 10-day contract on Sunday, has drawn commentary from all over the sports world. Surely, it is a big story and there is lots to talk about. No?
"That's just the way it works," Cuban said. "It was [a big deal] until it isn't, and now it's not. Next. Nothing more to talk about. I mean, I don't give a [expletive] about a guy's sexuality. Period, end of story."
Someday -- maybe soon, as in when the next active athlete in one of the four major North American sports follows the path blazed by Collins -- Cuban will be right.
On other topics, Cuban was typically entertaining:
• Regarding the notion that the Mavs (34-23), currently in the eighth playoff spot in the West, are caught in a no-man's land of mediocrity, Cuban was dismissive. Wouldn't he rather be really good or really bad (i.e. tanking)? "Oh, absolutely not," Cuban said. "That’s dumb [expletive]. There's no team that's so dominant that they're the runaway favorites. It's not the Eastern Conference." Only nine games separate the eight-place Mavs from the first-place Thunder in the West; in the East, the Heat are 1 1/2 games behind the Pacers while the third-place Raptors are 10 games behind Miami. "One turned ankle for anybody and it’s a whole different animal," Cuban said.
• On what he likes so far from new commissioner Adam Silver: "I think he's taken some great steps on the officiating. There's been more changes in 15 days or whatever it is than I saw in 13 years, so I like what he's doing there." In recent years, the league began making public acknowledgements of missed calls only when they happen in late-game situations and directly affect the outcome of a game. But Cuban said the league has done a better job lately of communicating directly with teams about missed calls even when they don't rise to that level. "They've been more proactive and I think that's a huge step in the right direction," Cuban said.
• On whether Silver is more open-minded than his predecessor, David Stern: "I don't think it's about being open-minded. I think they just have different approaches. They both have the same goal and that's to optimize and maximize the brand and the profitability of the NBA. ... There will be some things that David was better at and there will be some things that Adam is better at."
• On why the trade deadline is dead: "We didn't know what to expect. In hindsight, you could say that teams kind of defined their strategies. Nobody was caught in between. They were either under the cap or way over the cap or the tax threshold, or they were rebuilding. I think what caused there to be a lot less activity was that teams' perceived value of first-round picks went through the roof. Nobody was giving up picks." ... As for whether teams are now overvaluing draft picks, Cuban said, "I don't know, we'll find out."
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