Outspoken Mark Cuban lets loose on NBA vs. NFL

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Outspoken Mark Cuban lets loose on NBA vs. NFL

Post by bobheckler on Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:00 pm

http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics/2017/12/bulpett_outspoken_mark_cuban_lets_loose_on_nba_vs_nfl





Bulpett: Outspoken Mark Cuban lets loose on NBA vs. NFL





Steve Bulpett Thursday, December 07, 2017







Credit: Matt Stone


SQUEEZE PLAY: Outspoken Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and center Salah Mejri react to a play as they watch last night’s game at the Garden.







Mark Cuban’s basketball team isn’t where he wants it to be just now, but the Dallas Mavericks owner couldn’t be much happier with the position of his league these days.

Cuban, who envies the Celtics’ quick rebuild, avoided any urge to gloat about the NBA’s rise in TV ratings and popularity while the NFL slides. He was, after all, most prescient 3 1⁄2 years ago in his prediction of the football downturn because of overexposure. (“Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.”)

But the man who moonlights as co-star of TV’s “Shark Tank” also noted the participation issue raised by greater knowledge of head trauma, as well as playing to a key audience.


“There’s a confluence of a couple of things,” Cuban said. “No. 1, our demographic keeps on getting younger. The NFL and baseball, they keep on getting older. And I think what we’re doing with (the video game) NBA 2K is brilliant. And in the bigger scheme of things in terms of building fans for the future, what do you want your kids to play? I mean, of all the sports out there, do you want to go to a baseball game, or do want to watch your kid play basketball? Do you want to worry about him a whole football game, or do you want to watch your kid play basketball? Do you want him to get healthy from running the court, or do you want to watch him play football and worry about collisions.


“I think we all have structural issues in terms of kids not watching sports like we did, because television isn’t primary anymore. And I think what really makes the NBA stand out heads and tails above every other sport is you know our players. Tom Brady, (Rob) Gronkowski — how many other football players, if you saw them from the Patriots, would you know? Maybe (Julian) Edelman?”


Someone mentioned Brandin Cooks.


“Yeah, but would you know him if you saw him?,” Cuban said. “And that’s the thing. In baseball, of the 25 players, you might know two or three. Kids play 2K, watch a game, watch TV; you know every player. That’s a huge advantage because our players have brands. Our players have platforms. Our players have voices. LeBron (James) tweets, and more people see it than our politicians.”


He took it a step further.


“I hate to just keep banging on the NFL, but the saturation was a symptom of a bigger problem,” he said. “That’s when I said that pigs get fat, because you see how they handle controversy. They don’t know what to do, and the players can’t really deal with it. Here our players have a big enough voice that if we screw up, our players correct us. Whether it’s (Brad (Stevens), whether it’s Danny (Ainge), whether it’s (Al) Horford, whether it’s Kyrie (Irving) — they all have voices. They can say what’s on their mind, and that has a bigger impact on how fans respond than what (commissioner) Adam Silver says or what I say or what Wyc (Grousbeck, the Celtics co-owner) says. That’s a huge thing.


“I don’t think people realize that talent drives this game. Personalities drive this game. We are the only league where talent comes first, and that’s a critical distinction.”


Back in the business of winning games, Cuban held up the Celts as a model.


“It’s a great organization, and they’ve done a great job,” Cuban said. “I think the hallmark of what they did is how they get their teams to play hard. That’s really what we look to emulate more than anything else. I mean, they’ve done a great job in the draft, but there’s as much luck as anything else there, and things have got to fall in your lap one way or the other. So the way it’s worked out, the biggest takeaway that we’ve seen in looking at the Celts — and we’ve done a lot of deals with them, so we’re close to them — really, more than anything, it’s just how hard Brad gets his teams to play. ”


The conversation then turned to Cuban’s team.


“We just started last year,” he said. “We weren’t going into last year thinking we were rebuilding, but (Andrew) Bogut got hurt and Deron Williams was hurt. We started off 3-17 or something ridiculous, and until we went into tank mode once we got eliminated from the playoffs, we were just outside the playoffs. So we have just started the rebuild, and hopefully it won’t be long.”



And if some club was willing to make a big offer for 39-year-old Dirk Nowitzki?

“I still wouldn’t trade Dirk even if they offered me three No. 1’s,” Cuban said with a smile. “Four, yes. But three, no.”




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