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Mikhail Prokhorov says he’ll crush Mark Cuban in kickboxing over Deron Williams

Mikhail Prokhorov spoke to the media Tuesday at the construction site of the Barclays Center which will be the Nets’ new home in Brooklyn. Prokhorov has been somewhat of a mystery man since buying the team two years ago. Although he was initially vocal and present for some Nets games, he was consumed with running for presidency in Russia and became an absent figure. Luckily for us, he reignited his rivalry with Mark Cuban.

Asked about Mark Cuban’s Mavericks pursuing Nets point guard Deron Williams in free agency after the season, Prokhorov gave a classic response.

“Let the best man win. If he wins, I will crush him in kickboxing throwdown.”

I know Mark Cuban has a rugby background, and I don’t doubt his ability to fight dirty, but I’ll take the 6’8″ Russian in a clash. Can you just imagine if team conflicts were solved by opposing owners fighting in kickboxing throwdowns? It would be fantastic.

Between Cuban’s past comments about the Russian, and Prokhorov’s shot in return, there is no doubt this would be a heated affair.

Chest bump to Eye on Basketball
Photo Credits: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE, Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Mark Cuban, Lamar Odom reportedly had heated halftime confrontation

Mark Cuban reportedly had a heated confrontation with Lamar Odom at halftime of the Mavericks’ game last Saturday, leading to Odom’s removal from the team’s roster.

According to ESPN Dallas, Cuban asked Odom if he was in or out with the team. Odom apparently was upset with the question and did not go to the Mavs’ bench until after the third quarter began. That exchange seems to explain why players and coaches did not want to discuss Odom, who had one rebound and no points, after the game. Odom did not play in the second half of the game.

It was announced on Monday that Odom and the Mavericks were parting ways for the rest of the season — a clear admission that the team’s acquisition of the forward did not work out well. Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle publicly supported Odom all season, and Cuban even met with Odom for pep talks. Clearly they had enough with Odom’s weak mind and lack of contributions for the team.

President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson phrased things the best, saying “We’re in our playoff time right here. We need to win games. We got to be able to look down that bench and count on folks to be consistent. Unfortunately with him in his state right now he’s just not capable of doing that.”

Mark Cuban gives Lamar Odom pregame pep talk

Mark Cuban is a full service owner. Not only is he involved in roster construction and team traveling plans, the guy also helps the psychology of some of his players.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Cuban spent a while in the locker room before the Mavericks’ game against the Rockets Saturday giving a pep talk to Lamar Odom who was benched the night before. Cuban says the talk was nothing different from ones he’s had with other players who have gone through adverse times during their career.

Cuban wasn’t sure how the talk would work, but we can tell you Odom was scoreless in 12 minutes on 0-2 shooting, though he did grab two rebounds. What matters most to the Mavericks is that they won the game 101-99 in overtime. Coach Rick Carlisle also pointed out that the team hasn’t won a game when Odom didn’t play (they’re 0-6 without him). Even though that may be the case, they can’t be satisfied with Odom poor frame of mentality.

Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Mark Cuban says there wouldn’t be as much Jeremy Lin hype outside of New York

Would Jeremy Lin still be a sensation if he played for a team like the Charlotte Bobcats? No matter how you look at it, his story is Linspirational (sorry, couldn’t resist). Having gone from a few days away from hitting the unemployment line to one of the best point guards in the league, Lin is the ultimate underdog story. It is fair to wonder, however, how much attention he would be receiving if his explosion had come while playing for a team other than the Knicks.

According to Mark Cuban, things would be different if Lin was lighting up an arena that wasn’t Madison Square Garden.

“David Lee, Nate Robinson, when they all came out of nowhere, they were the toast of the town and that’s the way it should be,” Cuban said according to the Dallas Morning News. “New York is still kind of the mecca for the media of basketball. It’s great for the league and Jeremy Lin is a great kid. So I’m happy for him.”

Cuban’s right. Without the media frenzy and bright spotlight of New York, it’s unlikely there would be any $40,000 game-worn jersey sold on eBay or Lin Mint flavored milk shakes. But isn’t that what has made the entire run the perfect storm? Lin receives more attention for the things he has done because he plays in New York, but that speaks to his ability to handle the pressure and play with a veteran’s poise.

The Knicks’ expectations were through the roof heading into the season and they stumbled out of the gate. Lin has righted the ship, and he’s done it under the bright lights of New York City. If you ask me, he deserves more attention for that than he would if he did the same things in a place like Charlotte or Memphis.

Mark Cuban pays $40,000 to save St. Patrick’s Day parade so people could ‘kill as many brain cells’ celebrating as he has

Mark Cuban can be overbearing sometimes, like when he wanted to get the Mavericks championship bracelets instead of rings, or when he celebrated the Heat’s struggles. But Cuban can also be awesome, especially when he’s talking about partying.

The Cubes paid $40,000 to keep the annual Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade alive in Dallas (it would have been cancelled if they didn’t raise the funds). Cuban’s reasoning for the donation was outstanding.

“I just thought it was fair that more people should be able to kill as many brain cells on Greenville Avenue as I have in my life,’’ Cuban said. “I passed out in many of booths there.

“I said if I have lost enough brain cells there everybody will get that opportunity, too.’’

Cuban was quite the party animal during his younger, rugby-playing days, and he still goes out drinking at local bars in Bloomington when he’s nearby the Indiana campus. It’s a miracle he was able to put together a championship-winning team with the few brain cells he has left.

Or, as Cher told Travis Birkenstock, “I guess kitchenware?”

Mark Cuban blasts NBA for making the Chris Paul trade

Aside from the Clippers and the teams that did not want to see the Lakers improve, there were very few people who were pleased with the way the NBA handled the Chris Paul trade. Paul forced his way out of New Orleans, which is precisely the type of thing the league has been trying to put a stop to. Not only that, but he forced his way off of a team that happens to be owned by the NBA. The always-outspoken Mark Cuban thought the entire situation was embarrassing.

“I don’t think it was about the Lakers, per se,” Cuban said Monday according to the Star-Telegram. “I think it was just the way they did the deal, which was ridiculous.

“I don’t think it was about which team. I think it was the fact that, even with the Clippers, we just went through this whole (new collective bargaining agreement) and said the incumbent team still has the advantage and then the team the league owns (fades) out, and look how it’s worked out for them.”

When David Stern rejected the initial trade, it appeared as though he was simply trying to keep Paul on the Hornets so that they wouldn’t implode. The three-team trade would have sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets,  and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, and a first-round pick to the Hornets. Instead, the Clippers landed Paul and two first-round picks for Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon, and Al-Farouq Aminu. Most people agree that the initial trade was more balanced all around.

“Bad management gets you bad results,” Cuban said. “It’s hard to judge any trade until it’s done.

“It’s about the concepts involved and the integrity of what we went through for the CBA. That’s what it’s all about. (The NBA office) screwed the pooch either way. The whole idea about having most of these rules is that you’d have an advantage and wouldn’t have to trade people.”

Cuban’s point is that the NBA allowed the trade to go through as if it had no choice, which is what owners have worked toward putting an end to. The Hornets — or NBA — made it seem as though they held no power in the deal in the end.

Mark Cuban Says Letting Players Play for Olympic Team is ‘Stupidity,’ Calls Olympic Basketball ‘Meaningless’

Above all else, Mark Cuban is a businessman. That is the reason he is one of the most successful men in America. He may love guys like Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd on a personal level, but at the end of the day, they are assets to his company. Cuban pays them to play for the Mavericks, so if they are going to get hurt and jeopardize their careers, he wants to make sure it is done on company time. Dirk is currently nursing an knee injury that may have been caused while playing for Germany in international competition, and Cuban is not happy about it.

“It’s just the epitome of stupidity that we would allow ourselves to be used so other corporations (like the Olympics) can make tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cuban said according to ESPNDallas.com. “There’s some guys sitting at the Olympic headquarters going, ‘Those dumb-asses, we’re taking all their best guys for nothing.’

“I understand from Dirk’s perspective. We should never put our athletes in that position. For some sports the Olympics are very, very important. For basketball, it’s meaningless. It’s not that they’re not decent games. All things being equal, it’s fun to watch us play Argentina and Spain, but it would be just as fun if they were 21 and under.”

Cuban said he has tried to get the debate put up for vote but has had no success. Obviously his belief is shared by other owners, as evidenced by the fact that Amar’e Stoudemire may have been left off the Team USA roster this year over a similar dispute.

It’s easy to understand both sides of the argument. Cuban has a valid point; he and other NBA owners pay their players hundreds of million of dollars, and the Olympic teams get to borrow them without offering compensation. If someone should suffer a serious injury, it would be accompanied by nothing more than an “oops.” On the other hand, it is important to some players to be able to represent their country. It’s a matter of pride. Unfortunately for Cuban and others, pride is likely to continue to win out — at least for the immediate future.