NBA slaps Cuban with $500,000 finePosted: Tuesday January 08, 2002 12:34 PM
Updated: Wednesday January 09, 2002 8:52 AM
DALLAS (AP) -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban took yet another shot at the NBA and its officials Tuesday after the league hit him with a record $500,000 fine.
"It's not the money; it's the fact that they don't do anything about the problem," Cuban said before the Mavericks played Denver on Tuesday night.
He was fined seven times last season for a total of $505,000.
The latest fine of half a million dollars -- the largest against an individual in NBA history -- came in response to Cuban's comments about the officiating after the Mavericks' 105-103 loss to San Antonio on Saturday.
Cuban contends that lax officiating is leaving his star players vulnerable to serious injuries.
"The fines are the least of what is relevant of what's going on here," Cuban said. "Our players are at risk because of all the fouls."
As he has done in the past, Cuban is matching the fine with a contribution to charity. Cuban said $375,000 of the matching fine money will go toward breast cancer research. Head coach Don Nelson's wife, Joy, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I thought it was exorbitant," said Nelson of the fine. "I was very surprised with the amount. I thought it was going to be around $50,000. I guess the commissioner let him know who was in charge."
The largest team fine was the $3.5 million NBA commissioner David Stern imposed on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Oct. 25, 2000, for making a secret deal with forward Joe Smith. Stern also voided Smith's contract and stripped Minnesota of five first-round draft choices. He later restored one of the picks.
The largest fine for an individual in all sports was $1 million. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue fined Eddie DeBartolo, then co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers, on March 16, 1999, for being involved in a Louisiana gambling fraud case. Tagliabue also extended DeBartolo's NFL banishment until at least February 2000. DeBartolo remains out of the league.
Cuban also talked further about Stern, the target of many of the controversial owner's criticisms last season.
"David Stern is brilliant diluting any negative response," Cuban said. "People get maddest when the truth is spoken, so I guess I'm getting them mad."
Cuban said he became angered Saturday when he thought Spurs center Tim Duncan traveled on several occasions.
"It happened multiple times right in front of me, and they didn't do a thing," said Cuban, who has been especially critical of league director of officials Ed Rush.
"Ed Rush might have been a great ref, but I wouldn't hire him to manage a Dairy Queen," Cuban said in a story in The Dallas Morning News. "His interest is not in the integrity of the game or improving the officiating."
Last month, Cuban said he had hired a "statistics expert" to track referees during every Mavericks game.
"I can't tell you how I do it," the owner said. "I got someone I trust, and I pay him a lot of money."
Cuban's first fine last season was $25,000 on Nov. 2, 2000, for criticizing officials after a game against Seattle. Within three weeks there were two more fines, one for $5,000, the next for $15,000.
On Jan. 1, 2001, he was fined $100,000 for sitting on the baseline during a game against Minnesota. Three days later, Stern imposed the $250,000 fine for criticizing officials after a game against Detroit. There was another $10,000 fine on Feb. 15 that was accompanied by a two-game suspension for running on the court to break up a fight in a game against Cleveland. Finally, on April 15, Cuban was fined $100,000 for making a derogatory gesture.
Cuban, who bought the Mavericks for $280 million in January 2000, decided to track the performance of officials this season because he thought the league was calling fewer fouls.
"The players and coaches know it, so they are more aggressive," he said. "My guess is that someone is going to get hurt as a result. If we just enforced the rules as they are ... we would have a much better game.
"Refs miss calls," Cuban said. "It's not one call that was the issue. It's when there are inconsistencies throughout the game that creates problems.
"A foul is a foul. A travel is a travel. If you see it, call