Mark Cuban has been vocally opposed to NBA players participating in the Olympics for years. This offseason, his Dallas Mavericks traded for Australian center Andrew Bogut, who was coming off an injury. As such, you would probably presume that he would not want Bogut playing for his country at the Rio Olympics. In this instance, surprisingly, you would be wrong.
Given that Bogut suffered a bone bruise in his knee during the NBA Finals, Bogut needed a release from his team to allow him to participate in the Olympics. Given Cuban’s history, Bogut was rightfully worried he might not be able to play for Australia. However, Cuban gave him the OK. “We obviously were nervous and I’m still not a fan of NBA players in the Olympics, but Andrew was going to have to go through a process to get back on the court anyway,” Cuban wrote in an e-mail, continuing, “Our staff has communicated with him and we knew he would be cautious in his approach to returning.”
“They were very, very nervous obviously because my prognosis was six to eight weeks and this is right on six weeks right now, but I was open with them and honest,” said Bogut. It makes sense, despite his protestations that Cuban would give Bogut the go ahead to play for Australia. While he may be against NBA players in the Olympics, he’s smart enough to know that a lot of players are passionate about playing for their country, and if he didn’t let Bogut play, it could have alienated his new acquisition. Plus, Bogut is a veteran with a lot of experience, including injury experience, so he can probably be trusted to take care of his body.
Cuban also says he plans to wear an Australian rugby jersey in support of Bogut, presumably while holding his breath that Bogut doesn’t aggravate his knee injury.