Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cuban and K-Mart's mom is just another playoff rivalry

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Familiarity makes playoff basketball so much fun.

When a postseason series goes six or seven games, it's only natural that players and coaches alike get a little chippy with each other.

After all, I can't spend two hours with the better-half before she starts chirping at me. So, things are bound to bubble over when a basketball team sees the same faces over and over again for two weeks, and when the stakes are so high.

Cramped quarters breed rivalries, so you should expect certain things. Things like Dwight Howard losing his cool and throwing elbows or Shane Battier juicing more than Abdullah the Butcher.

But, Mark Cuban vs. Kenyon Martin's mother?

Now that's a rivalry no one saw coming.

The billionaire team owner became the villain in this scenario after the Mavs' controversial Game 3 loss in Dallas. The Nuggets took advantage of an NBA- acknowledged officiating mistake to beat the Mavericks 106-105 and take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Mark Cuban took to his blog early Tuesday morning to apologize for his indiscretion.
Frustrated, the immature Cuban stormed off the court like a bull in a china shop, banging into a cameraman and trying to intimidate everything in his path.

As he was finally leaving the floor, Cuban spotted Martin's mother, Lydia Moore, wearing a Nuggets jersey. According to Cuban, a fan called the Nuggets "thugs" and he looked at Moore and said, "That includes your son."

Martin's agent told the Denver Post a far different story, claiming Cuban said, "Your son is a punk."

Martin responded with a cryptic threat at Monday's shootaround, vowing to handle things himself.

"It's a little personal, and I'm going to take care of it," Martin said. "I'm not going to do the whole media thing, back and forth. That's his thing. I'm more of a face-to-face type of dude."

Not exactly a great way to counter Cuban's original thesis.

Nonetheless, Cuban, likely feeling the pressure mounting, not to mention fearing the 6-foot-9, 230-pound man he antagonized and may or may not think is a thug, took to his blog early Tuesday morning to apologize for his indiscretion.

Coincidentally, the mea culpa only came after the Mavs finally found the win column in the series with a 119-117 triumph in Game 4 on Monday night.

"It started as a smart ass comment that I know that no one heard," Cuban wrote. "How do I know, because there was a reporter right there next to me, as well as other people who saw the whole thing and didn't hear a word of it.

"But at this point, that has become irrelevant. It doesn't matter why I said it. I shouldn't have said anything. Now, the reality is that this has gotten out of hand.

"When tempers and such start impacting the fan experience both in Dallas and Denver, and it requires special security, that's not what I want for Mavs or Nuggets fans. No one takes more abuse and gets more threats on the road than I do. So I know exactly how it feels. I've also had my family and friends spit on at games in this series. So I know how unpleasant that is as well. It's a dirty secret that all arenas need to do a better job of protection for visiting team fans, particularly during the playoffs.

"So at this point I would like to apologize to you and your mom KMart for my comment. I should have not said anything and I was wrong. Hopefully you will accept the apology and we can move on."

Cuban continued with the age-old technique of the bribe.

"When the series comes back to Dallas, your family, and the family of other Nuggets players are welcome to stay in my suite, with my family," Cuban continued. "It's amazing how tempers mellow when real people talk to each other and realize that its still just a game.

"If that isn't acceptable, I'm happy to provide a suite, free of charge to them as well and place whatever security is needed to make them feel comfortable.

"We tried to have enough additional security for them tonight as well, but I know your family and friends didn't feel as comfortable as they should. I apologize for that as well. This arena is my responsibility, we could and should do a better job.

"So if we can put this behind us, I will make sure when the series comes back to Dallas, your family and friends, and that of your teammates are very comfortable at our Arena.

"Then I hope we both take the advice of your coach and can get together this summer. Dinner for you and your family is on me."

Notice how Cuban wrote "when the series comes back to Dallas," even though Denver will be a heavy favorite to end the set in the Rocky Mountains on Wednesday night.

Cuban is a fan first and one of the best owners in sports. Sure he's a bit nutty and hasn't brought a championship to Dallas just yet, but he will. The Mavs owner just doesn't accept losing and he lives and dies with his team. He is the Y2K version of George Steinbrenner and will bring a championship to "Big D" sooner rather than later.

Cuban lost his cool, but calls for a courtside ban or a Steinbrenner-like suspension for a year are ludicrous. This is playoff basketball and tempers flared.

Winning cures everything and the Martin family will likely get the last laugh on Wednesday.

If that's not enough revenge, perhaps we can set up a Martin-Cuban mixed martial arts match. Cuban, a noted MMA fan, has built his fledgling television network, HDNet, around the sport.

Of course, that would be quite the mismatch so I envision bringing back Wilmer Valderrama's atrocious MTV show "Yo Momma," where people "battled" each other by belittling each other's mother.

I can see it now...

Cuban: "Yo momma so fat when her beeper goes off, people thought she was backing up."

Martin: "Yo momma so stupid it took her two hours to watch 60 minutes."

Cuban: "Yo momma so poor she can't afford to pay attention."

Martin: "Yo momma so ugly she made an onion cry."

I would watch that.


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