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.