What a great NBA Finals for just about everybody except fans of the Miami Heat. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd finally win the elusive title; Rick Carlisle finally receives the attention and credit he deserves as one of the game’s best coaches; and Mark Cuban’s innovative and committed approach to ownership is rewarded with hardware. I think there’s plenty of folks who were glad to see Cuban take a back seat to the action in this year’s playoffs rather than at the forefront of the media spotlight. All in all, just seems like a perfect story that was meant to be for the Mavericks.
On Monday morning, Cuban joined 105.3 The Fan in Dallas to field questions about this year’s championship squad, why he opted to stay out of the spotlight, how he’s considering something other than rings to commemorate the title, his head coach Rick Carlisle, and other interesting topics in a candid, lengthy chat.
He may have been the most excited man in Miami last night and I woke up to a tweet that said ‘this might be weird, but I’m laying next to the World Championship trophy.’ I don’t think it sounds that weird at all. Is that a true story Mark?
“It’s true. I haven’t fallen asleep yet. I’m still up from last night. Did someone throw a no-hitter?”
How long before you let someone else take that NBA Championship trophy?
“I grabbed it. I wouldn’t let anyone take it from me. We went out and had to show it off some with some our friends last night and then back to the hotel. I was like ‘It’s mine baby! It ain’t going anywhere!’ Literally I couldn’t fall asleep. I was answering emails. I just set it down on the bed. I was just starring at it. I’m like ‘Is it good for you two?’ “
Let’s talk about Rick Carlisle. What did you see in Carlisle that made you think he could be the guy to lead you to a championship and what did he bring to your organization?
“Well we did a lot of the knowledge because I’m a stat geek and one of the analysis we did was we looked to see when players switched teams which coach helped them create the most improvement and Rick [Carlisle] was at the top of the list and not only was he one at the top of the list, he was available, so we went hard after him and I think the other part of it was any coach in any system takes a little bit of getting use to and a little bit of understanding. It took us a little bit of time. I’m not going to lie and say Rick just immediately walked in and everybody got it and bought in, but over time we got better and better and better. People understood his system better and we started to believe it and started to execute all the better and then once we got into the playoffs where adjustments, where everything, you know you play a team in a game. Miami beat us in the first game and you have to go make adjustments. I think Rick showed he was the best coach in all of these playoffs. He literally kicked everybody’s ass when it came to adjustments and putting us in the position to win.”
You have gone missing from the media the whole 2011 NBA post season. Where have you been?
“I was in Bermuda hanging out having some cocktails. I just didn’t want to put myself in the same position I had in the few previous years with the media. When we realized we were going to play the Lakers I knew I was going to get nothing, but questions about Phil Jackson and Ron Artest and things that have been said over the years. I just don’t want to deal with it, so it’d be more interesting and more fun for me to just to say nothing and then everybody picked up on it and made it even more interesting and then we kept on winning, so there was no reason to mess with the karma. It wasn’t any plan. It wasn’t anything specific. It just worked out the way it did.”
This is a new school type of a show. I think you are a new school type of owner. What is this I’m hearing about when you said ‘No championship rings. That’s outdated.’ What’s going on with the backup plan? What’s the Mark Cuban championship plan?
“It’s not a backup plan. It’s a change the rules plan. It’s just like I’m going to sit down and I had some brief conversations with Dirk [Nowitzki], Jay Kidd, and Jason [Terry]. We want to change the game. What I told them was ‘Look everybody wears short shorts until the Fab Five came along and then everybody went to long shorts. Now short shorts look outdated.’ I said we want to do the same thing when it comes to rings and how we represent or how we record the fact that we won a championship. Part of the fact is that it irks the hell out of me that you got into towns where teams have won a ring or won a championship and you know the ball boys, the towel boys, everybody has got a ring. It kind of deflates the value and the impact, so I don’t know exactly what we are going to do, but we are going to try to change the game.”
Go Mavs! World Champs!