The novel coronavirus pandemic halted NBA play in March and on Thursday afternoon, the league began its reboot at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
For those keeping score at home, 22 teams will compete to fill the league’s 16 NBA Playoff spots in both the Eastern and Western Conferences. The NBA Finals are slated to finish no later than October 13.
Guided by NBA All-Star Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks currently sit at 40-27 and in seventh place in the Western Conference standings.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke with Heavy.com about a myriad of topics including Black Lives Matter, Kanye West’s Presidential candidacy, Kobe Bryant nearly becoming a Maverick, Doncic, Dirk Nowitzki and much more.
Check out our Q&A below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What’s your biggest concern with the bubble and can the NBA actually pull off a restart successfully?
Mark Cuban: Obviously, it’s dealing with all the little details that are required to make it work. There are a lot of moving pieces, but I know how many resources that the NBA has dedicated to making this work. I truly believe that the players and staff will be safer in the bubble than they would be anywhere but in their own homes.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Given that certain players are wearing social justice words on the back of their jerseys, how big of a distraction do you think that could be from the NBA’s restart?
Mark Cuban: None. It will be something that people talk about, but once the games start fans are going to be fans and love watching the games and people who are not fans will want to commentate. Players are used to ignoring commentary on social legacy and social media, so I don’t think they are distracted by it at all. Plus, this is such a unique situation, my hope is that the players will become closer and stronger together.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What are your feelings about Kelly Loeffler? Is it wise for team owners to openly discredit Black Lives Matter and for the belief system that you must keep politics out of sports?
Mark Cuban: Don’t know her at all. I know she said something that upset people, but I haven’t paid any attention to it all. I don’t know the details.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Given the role of Stephen Jackson’s public outcry in the death of his friend, George Floyd, what are your feelings on Black Lives Matter in the state of Texas and should athletes align themselves with private citizens?
Mark Cuban: They should do what they think is the right thing to do.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: There was a report during the summer of 2017 that the Dallas Mavericks had interest in signing Derrick Rose before he ultimately signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Any truth to that? Overall, what have you thought about his play these last two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Detroit Pistons?
Mark Cuban: I can’t remember back that far. DRose is an amazing player. I’m sure we had conversations with his agent. I don’t remember the details.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Do you ever regret not keeping Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash together?
Mark Cuban: Yes. Often. It was my biggest mistake.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: If you had kept them together, how many NBA Finals do you think that they could have won?
Mark Cuban: 16.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Does Luka Doncic’s game remind you more of Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James or Larry Bird?
Mark Cuban: He has a little from all of them. Basketball IQ, ability to take over a game. Passing skills. Can shoot from deep. And most importantly the desire to work as hard as it takes to be the best in the game.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: From a basketball perspective, how have you seen Kristaps Porzingis’ game evolve as a New York Knick to a Dallas Maverick?
Mark Cuban: He wants to win so badly. He will do what is needed by the team. He is really unselfish. But the most impressive side of his game is his ability to step up when the game is on the line. He just gets better and better at winning time. It’s impressive.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: If you could pick one former player that you’d have liked to have had on the Mavs would Kobe Bryant be one of those former players?
Mark Cuban: Yes. I thought we had a trade for him in October of 2007. We had agreed on a deal, then they talked him out of his trade demand.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What’s the next wave in media as far as mobile and/or regular broadcast?
Mark Cuban: Multicasting with technological overlays and different broadcasters for each feed. Up until very recently processors were not fast enough and bandwidth plentiful enough to present an unlimited number of feeds of any game. You can have a feed directed to any segment of audiences that you want to reach. It’s not inconceivable that using AI, Augmented Reality, ComputerVision and some new presentation technologies to have custom feeds that learn what a viewer likes based on interaction and viewing patterns and synthesize a feed just for you. This isn’t tomorrow, but it will happen.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You recently tweeted support for Kanye West running for President of the United States. Would you actually vote for him? Why would he make a good President?
Mark Cuban: No. I wouldn’t vote for Kanye. Love his music. Will buy his music, his shoes and maybe even buy his gear at the Gap. But I wouldn’t vote for him.