Sports Illustrated will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Dec. 4. Below are some personal choices for that honor by SI writers.
11/17/2006 05:30:00 PM
My Sportsman: Mark Cuban
One thing you'll never find at Dallas' American Airlines Center is a quiet Mark Cuban. And that might be a good thing.
John W. McDonough/SI
By Ian Thomsen
He has been fined by the league, abused by opposing fans and forsaken by his rival owners. That's why Mark Cuban is my Sportsman of the Year.
In six years he turned the lifeless Dallas Mavericks into the defending Western Conference champs. Cuban should be a model for all of the many bad NBA owners who shuttle out millions in guaranteed paychecks yet fail to hold players accountable for their salaries. Among the most expensive payrolls in the NBA, the Mavericks are the only team in contention -- and it's because in his own way, like him or not, Cuban makes sure that his players give an honest night's work in exchange for their outrageous day's pay.
The owners who complain about Cuban's behavior should first consider their own failings. Do they get as much out of their franchises as Cuban does from his? A few of them do, and so they have the right to question Cuban's occasionally defiant behavior. The rest of them should spend less time criticizing Cuban's style and more time learning from his substance. If they would work harder to compete with him instead of complaining about him, it would be a far better league.
I have a lot of respect for David Stern as an innovator and a problem-solver, but the scoreboard says that he is not the greatest sports commissioner of all time. That honor goes to Pete Rozelle, who (with a huge assist from successor Paul Tagliabue) set the NFL on track to overtake baseball as the No. 1 sport in the country. The NBA was No. 3 when Stern came in and it is No. 3 today. He has been an excellent commissioner who raised a lot of money and heightened the interest in his sport, but so too did the other leagues during the bullish 1980s and '90s.
There is an unhealthy, self-congratulatory sense of complacency in the NBA based on the premise that all of the problems will be solved because Stern is a genius; and yet NBA players are held in generally low esteem by the public in no small part because of the way Stern chose to market them over the previous decade.
All I'm saying is that nobody has all the answers, and that Cuban's fresh approach should be welcomed by a league that could use some new ideas. To its credit, the NBA has increased oversight of its referees because of Cuban's griping.
The mistake would be to push Cuban away. It's bad business. If nothing else, his behavior lets fans know that he sincerely cares about winning each basketball game. While he's making an ass of himself, he's also changing the widespread perception that most owners don't care about the final score.
In the bigger picture, he does far more good than harm. When he sells the Mavericks, which I imagine will be sooner than later, he will be missed.
Mark Cuban for Sportsman of the Year? Who's second on your list, Ron Artest? How about Terrell Owens? Sportsman is supposed to exemplify excellence on the field and in public behavior off the field. Swearing at officials, acting petulant and dressing like a slob aren't behaviors I want kids to emulate.
How completely right you are. It's clear to everyone who pays attention that Cuban is all about winning. He hungers for it. He is accessible to fans and pours everything he's got into making the Mavs successful on and off the court. And as a side note...how many Mavs players have had off-court problems like those of numerous other NBA miscreants?
Unfortunately, the NBA under Stern is a league that values compliance and conformity rather than advancing the game via the type of innovation Cuban embraces. For that reason, Stern and the NBA slaps down Cuban at every opportunity (fines, shoddy officiating, 7,344 foul shots for Dwyane Wade)...and since it's league policy to "shape" results (Patrick Ewing to NY, anyone?), I will no longer watch the NBA.
Cuban *should* sell the Mavs and take his talents to a league ready to expand. I hope he buys the Stars and Rangers from Tom Hicks.
Cuban is a man who is not shy about getting what he wants. To many other owners are happy with giving very little to their fans...they dont expect it. Cuban does...and has the outlets and the money to do so.
Cuban...I will work for you anytime...contact me! SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR--Mark Cuban.
Business sense and sportsmanship have little, if anything, to do with each other. I hardly think Cuban's shameless, self-gratifying attention-drawing is sportsmanlike. In a world of ever-decreasing moral values, more and more people like a loud-mouthed a-hole...what a shame.
Sportsmanship is respecting the game, respecting how it is played, and, most of all, respecting the other team. Cuban might respect the game, probably doesn't respect the way the game is played, and DEFINETELY doesn't respect the other team. He doesn't seem to respect the other team at all, ever. Even when he wins, and especially when he loses, he heckles the other team like one of those bad little league parents. That is why he cannot be called a sportsman, in any form.
1)He's a loyal fan that's ALL about winning 2)He hates zebras 3)He's a tremendous 'donator' to the NBA (OK, it's six-figure FINES, but...) 4)He could care less about his wardrobe (and he could buy ANY mall in America)
I agree 100% . Franchise owners should be fans first and business men second. I would love to have Cuban own our Pirates or Penguins (especially the Pirates). It's a shame no other league besides basketball will let him in.
You've got to be kidding! Someone that acts like an obnoxious parent at a little league or high school athletic event is your idea of the sportsman of the year. Think about his behaviour and and how well it lines up with that parent a lot of us have seen. I can just hear the outrage from the sports world if a parent was hiring someone to film and critic the officals at his childs game.
Cuban may be a profitable owner but he is not a sportsman. His billionaire superfan act pales in comparison to the class and skill real athletes show on the field/court. His antics are all self serving. Has any other Sportsman of the year run after referees after a loss? Yell and scowl at the Commish after a loss? What a joke. Praise his business success in Forbes not SI.
Sure, Cuban swears at officials, and acts overzealous to say the least. However for every fine he recieves from the NBA, he donates the same amount to charity. He is not a slob, he's casual, and if you are looking for someone to emulate why not a man who has made millions of dollars by creating multi-million dollar companies from scratch and making big risk investments and not caring what anybody thought about him?
I don't think Mark Cuban is a "sportsman" in the traditional sense of the word; and no, I don't think he should win the sportsman award. However, I disagree even more with those who are blatantly opposed to him.
Just what is it that people see as "bad"? Coaches swear at referees. Players swear at referees. Hell, once in a while referees probably even swear at each other. That's why technicals were invented. Acting petulant... anyone ever heard of Antoine Walker? And if people dressed in suits all the time, the NBA wouldn't have bothered to install a dress code. Cuban attends as a FAN of the game; how he dresses is up to him. I bet most of you complainers would be irritated if you were kicked out of a basketball game for wearing jeans and your team's jersey.
Cuban wants to win, and instead of sitting back on his ass and letting his team--his employees--do whatever he wants, he makes sure he gets productivity. And I dare anyone to name an owner that has managed to completely reinvent a franchise as quickly and successfully as Mark Cuban has. While I may not agree with all of his antics, I think he's a breath of fresh air in an overcrowded and obnoxious room.
Take the good with the bad. Smart kids will appreciate his ingenuity and judge for themselves how acceptable his actions are. Saying that he is a bad role model and has nothing to offer to the league is just plain ridiculous.
Thats a shame that the world has stooped down this low. Mark Cuban is the most unclassiest fella around. He does not deserve any kind of reward. He needs to be kicked out of the league as owner. He is a horrible role model, treats his employees terrible and I believe 6 years ago he promised the city of Dallas, Texas a championship in the next few years and do they have one? NO! Cuban has downgraded this league and is a disgrace to it. This was a horrible decision to make him sportsman of the year.
Why someone wouldn't agree is beyond me. The mavs didn't win the western conference without Mark Cuban, did they??? Everyone doesn't like Mark cause of the ego.All of you Mark Cuban haters will cry when you see SI's cover. Mark Cuban will win and you all know it so shut your mouths up!
Mark Cuban is as deserving as any other candidate for sportsman of the year. He has turned the Maverick franchise completely around. He loves the game of basketball and respects it and the players that play that deserve respect. You have to admit the NBA has a large number of thugs that don't respect the game or the league where they earn their living. As far as zebras go he doesn't dislike them he just wants them to get the calls right. Yet when they make a bad call and he points it out it tends to embarass them and they try to take it out on his team. David Stern is an okay commissioner but nothing special. There are many things that could be done to make the league more enjoyable for the fans.Mark has pointed many of these out yet David likes to stick his head in the sand. Mark if I had a vote you would get it.
I DON'T KNOW HIM PERSONALLY, BUT ALL I GOT TO SAY IS MARK CUBAN IS THE BEST FAN OF ANY ORGANIZATION, CLUB, OR ANY OTHER SPORTS TEAM!! EVEN WITHOUT OWNING THE TEAM, HE WOULD STILL HAVE THE SAME SPIRIT. OTHER TEMS ARE JUST HATING CAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE A OWNER AS COOL AND FUN TO WATCH AS MY DALLAS MAVERICKS!! KEEP IT UP CUBAN. STERN AIN'T GOT NOTHING ON YOU.. GO MAVS!! WE'LL BE THE CHAMPS!!
This is an interesting pick for Sportsman of the Year. I'll admit, I was skeptical before I read the article in its entirety, but, yes, Mark Cuban has done some amazing things with the franchise, turning it, as john shepherd said, from the next Detroit Lions or Texas Rangers, into a defending conference champion. That being said, however, he's also a bit obnoxious and self-centered. I'm not saying I despise the guy with a passion or anything, but I don't think his behavior in the past would totally justify him getting Sportsman of the Year.
Mark Cuban is the best owner there is. FOr the guy who said he never won dallas a championship I guess you didn't see the finals last year. Dallas got screwed over and everyone knows it. Cuban made the mavs and they will be right back in the finals this year. Go Mavs and go CUBAN SI's sportsman of the year
He has my vote!! He has done a great job with the Mavs and brought some excitement to the NBA. He cares about everything that has to do with the game. From the players right down to making it affordable for fans to come to a game without going bankrupt. If more owners cared like he does maybe they would make more money and have more respect. GO Mark!!
Absolutely I agree! I feel a little torn about the "Sportsman" thing, but I would love to see him get some recognition, rather than derision. MC is an "everymans millionaire" and I think it is great to see a truly wealthy man attend the teams games like a normal fan. He is not pretentious, and he has given this city some REAL BASKETBALL excitement!! GO MC AND GO MVS!!!!
I would agree, Mark Cuban has gone through thick and thin with the Mavs. Amazing offense and no defense, to a offensive team with smothering defense, top to bottom. He is always faithful and looking out for his team. He is also not afraid to spend money for the better of his team.
Resistance to change is common place in our world and thats the reason Cuban is labeled a Bad Boy. Change does not come easy and I applaud Cuban for having pushed this long. What next is Stern gonna come up with after robbing the Mavericks of the championship and even calling the Mavericks sideline during a game to gripe about celebrating teammates. Keep it up Mark, You are the sportman of the decade. Thanks for the Mavericks and the joy they bring.
Mark Cuban is passionate about basketball and his team. Guys, this is NBA. Not a high school. The more attention Mark has drawn on and off the court, the more he could market NBA and his team. He likes his team like any good owner, like the Maloof Brothers of Sacramento. There guys put in everything for the team and the fans and the community. Agreed, you might see him talk with disdain about the NBA and its old commissioner David Stern, its not because he is a fool. He might appear to be for some people, but he is a very shrewd owner and a marketer. He truly wants to develop NBA into top 2 sports in US. People who don't realize that, choose to dis-agree in much harsher tone than they have seen Mark Cuban rant about NBA and its crooked rules. My vote goes to Mark Cuban. No doubt about that.
As a Maverick fan who used to go to Reunion Arena 15 min. before tipoff to buy a ticket, i got one, and i also stood a good chance of playing, I love Mark Cuban! He has turned the Mavs into the most fun team(sorry Suns fans!)to watch in any sport! Thank you Mr. Cuban! He definitely gets my vote for Sportsman of the Year!
Mark Cuban? Surely you jest. A man who exemplifies crudity and disgustingness in public and at other social affairs surely cannot be who you meant for Sportsman of the Year. What he has done with the Mavs is impressive but surely, by no means, gains him the rights to be deemed a title requiring decency, pride, manners, and a good-intentioned soul which is manifested during and outside his daily life of being a manager!
He definitely gets my vote!!!If other owners were like Mark Cuban it would be a better sport. I agree with the gentleman earlier that said that a lot of people talk Mark down, but would die for the chance to have him as an owner. I would definitely take Mark over an owner in a suit sitting in his suite (probably not even paying attention to the game).
The Mavs are the Western Conference Champions and would have been the NBA Champions had it not been for poor officiating. Go Mark and Go Mavs. We'll finish it this season.
P.S. Hopefully Dwyane Wade doesn't go to the free throw line for anything I said.
I became a fan when Mark Cuban had barely purchased the Mavericks. But I know how the Mavericks were the laughing-stock of the NBA, Cuban changed that and has kept the franchise rolling. Yes, he can be abnoxious, sore loser, and sometimes a distraction to the team. The rest of the NBA teams fans hate him but if you are a Mavs fan like me... you love him! He has done a lot not only to the Mavericks but to the NBA. No one can doubt that, what other owner can say that?
agreed. i mean sure...the guy can go over the line a little bit. look at it this way- i bet 99% of the people that disagree with the value of mark cuban are also those that complain about petty calls...and the need to just "let them play." there needs to be passion in sports.
You are completely right about Cuban, he has brought a team from one of the worst teams in the league to a team that is a serious contender. I think he has every right in the world to question the refrees and try to make them accountable for they're calls. That is his team and he wants them to have the same oppertunities as the other teams and players have. I have watched players like Shaq, Koby, and others just consistently get foul called for them just because they are the elite few. Cuban just wants a fair shake and a chance for his team to step up and not a refree to decide a game for lame call. Go Cuban, Stern learn from him he will take you places, like to most loved sport in the country or second. Baseball is the dullest sport around. StarsPowr
Mark Cuban is an awesome pick. David Stern is the most hated and crooked NBA Commisioner in league history and should be fired outright. Have we ever seen an NBA Commisioner hated by the fans and the players so much? I dont think so. That would put an end to the wrong team winning the NBA Championships. Keep up the Good work Mark and thanks for fighting the good fight. Go Mavs!!!