Dallas Mavericks billionaire owner Mark Cuban is notorious for making bodacious and oftentimes reckless statements that has earned him millions of dollars in NBA fines over the years. But his series of statements in the aftermath of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling being banned from the NBA has people up in an uproar.
Speaking at the GrowCo convention hosted by Inc. magazine in Nashville, Tenn., Cuban again broaches the extremely sensitive and controversial topic of Sterling, the man ostracized nationwide for his recorded statements against blacks and Magic Johnson.
“I know I’m prejudiced, and I know I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways,” Cuban said in an interview shown at the annual GrowCo convention hosted by Inc. magazine. “If I see a black kid in a hoodie on my side of the street, I’ll move to the other side of the street. If I see a white guy with a shaved head and tattoos (on the side he now is on), I’ll move back to the other side of the street. None of us have pure thoughts; we all live in glass houses.”
Cuban’s says he is not advocating for racism but merely suggesting that we all have flaws. Still, the comments come at a difficult time for the NBA, in the wake of Sterling being recorded making racist comments to friend V. Stiviano by phone. Sterling was banned for life for those comments by the NBA Commissioner.
Cuban refused to let reporters know how he will vote on June 3 on whether to uphold the ban on Sterling and force him to sell the team, but says he already knows how he will vote. Cuban was also asked about keeping bigotry out of the NBA.
“You don’t; there’s no law against stupid,” Cuban said. “I’m the one guy who says don’t force the stupid people to be quiet. I want to know who the morons are.”
Remember that Cuban, who bought the Mavericks in 2000 and has been frequently fined by the league for public criticism of officials, earlier called the upcoming vote to ouster Sterling from the NBA a “slippery slope.”
Wednesday, he added that he hates to be a hypocrite but may have to be in voting for or against Sterling.
“I’ll try to give them a chance to improve themselves,” Cuban continues, “because I think that helping people improve their lives, helping people engage with people they may fear or may not understand, and helping people realize that while we all may have our prejudices and bigotries we have to learn that it’s an issue that we have to control, that it’s part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try to solve it, not just to kick the problem down the road. Because it does my company no good, it does my customers no good, it does society no good if my response to somebody and their racism and bigotry is to say, ‘It’s not right for you to be here. Go take your attitude somewhere else.'”
This sounds like Cuban, who is also known as one of the principle players in the popular “Shark Tank” reality show, is vacillating between voting to keep Sterling in the NBA or exiling the 80-year-old curmudgeon billionaire from the realm of sports ownership.
How Cuban votes may have substantial ramifications. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has been quoted that the players are watching closely on how the owners will vote on June 3. If the owner vote to keep Sterling as the Clippers’ owner, or if not enough owners agree to force Sterling to relinquish ownership, the players may indeed boycott games in the near future.