There are millions of things we’d like to talk about concerning David Stern‘s last day as the commissioner of the NBA. Aside from the impact he had on the game and league we all love, there is plenty more to write about the man who has helmed the NBA for as long as we’ve been alive. But we thought we should pass along perhaps the biggest surprise of all among the (largely) laudatory Stern paeans we’ve been reading today. Long-time Stern foil Mark Cuban is actually pretty tight with the commish, and it’s not such a big surprise as Stern revealed to Turner Sports’ Ernie Smith in a sitdown interview on NBA TV looking back on his storied career.
Over the course of Mark Cuban’s ownership of the Dallas Mavericks, Stern has fined Cuban an estimated $1.94 million, including a parting fine of $100K after storming the court to complain about the calls in a recent 129-127 Mavs loss to the Clippers on Wednesday.
I couldnt let the commish go without a proper farewell. Its been a fun 14 years of trying to create change and donating to the donut fund !
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 19, 2014
But Stern has only himself to thank for Cuban’s noisy critiques of the league, it’s officials and Stern himself.
Here’s what Stern recounted to Ernie in their NBA TV interview, as transcribed by the Star-Telegram:
“When Mark bought the team, and it was under contract, he started being Mark before he’d closed,” Stern told Johnson in an excerpt which aired late Thursday night on TNT. “We had a very difficult meeting where there was an approval that was sought and the vote of the two combined committees that were going to pass on it was surprisingly close.
“If that vote was reported out to the board, he would not have been approved. And I said, ‘You know guys, that’s why you pay me the big bucks. So I think he’ll be Ok and I think we should make the vote as close to unanimous as we can,’ and they said OK.”
Stern admits if he had just sat tight and not made any comments to the board, “he doesn’t get it” â€“ as in Cuban would not have been the Mavs’ owner.
“And I think we would have been the poorer for it, interestingly enough, despite all of his machinations and expertise — real or imagine,” Stern said. “But the other owners, ‘Oh, hey David, he’s your guy.’
“They never miss the opportunity to remind me. But I say, ‘Hey guys, so what? Enjoy it.’ So when you ask me if I get angry, I brought it all on myself and I’m glad I did.”
Cuban, for his part, posted a picture to Instagram today with him and BFF David Stern getting snuggly in the commissioners office on Stern’s last day, captioning the photo: “Celebrating the commissioners final day in the office. Yes we are.. CLOSE friends.”
What do you think?
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