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Cuban Is Rebuked by Stern

NBA commissioner says Maverick owner's comments on Bryant case are 'unseemly.'

August 06, 2003|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban, who has been fined more than $1 million by the NBA since he bought the team three years ago, received a different kind of league penalty Tuesday. He got his wrist slapped.

Commissioner David Stern rapped Cuban for saying that the NBA would benefit financially as a result of the sexual assault case against Laker Kobe Bryant.

"Any suggestion that there will be some economic or promotional benefit to the NBA arising from the charge pending against Kobe Bryant is both misinformed and unseemly," Stern said in a statement.

"That idea does not reflect the views of the NBA, NBA owners generally or others associated with our sport."

Cuban has proven himself to be a veritable maverick among the league's owners and is accustomed to the spot reserved for him in Stern's doghouse, usually for his criticism of NBA officials.

His remarks about the Bryant case drew a quick rebuttal from Stern.

Cuban's comments were widespread, ranging from an article by Associated Press, a radio interview, appearances on "Inside Edition" and "Access Hollywood" and in USA Today. While he said that the Bryant case is a tragedy for all those involved, he maintained that it would also improve the league's television ratings and thus make money for the NBA.

"From a business standpoint, it's great for the NBA," Cuban said on "Access Hollywood." "It's reality television, people love train-wreck television and you hate to admit it, but that's the truth."

Cuban also said even though fallout from the Bryant case will lure more viewers to the NBA on television, that isn't necessarily a good thing.

"I'm not saying it's a positive reflection of who we are as a country," he said. "It's just reality. It sells papers, it increases TV ratings. The NBA will benefit from that."

Cuban's Mavericks open the season against the Lakers on Oct. 28.

"Who do you know won't watch the Lakers' game with Kobe?" Cuban said.

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