Mark Cuban’s grievances do come with a statute of limitations, apparently.
That’s true even when it comes to losing the 2006 NBA Finals to Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat, a series in which Wade shot 97 free throws in six games and averaged 34.7 points.
“Look, I wasn’t the only one who thought that something was up,” said the Mavericks owner, who considered selling the team after that defeat. “But that’s long gone. And so are all the people who were involved in that. It will go down in history as the worst officiated Finals in the history of the game. And I don’t even think the league will disagree with that. But I think at the 10-year anniversary, I’ll stop talking about it.”
Cuban, who conducted the interview with reporters — as he often does — while sweating on a Stairmaster, with CNN on the TV above him, joked that he only talks about it now when the Mavericks play the Heat.
“It’s not like it’s, ah, [bleep], those [bleep], it’s been nine years, six months and 42 days and [former official] Jack Nies is still smiling!” Cuban said, smiling himself.
Has Cuban interacted with Wade much?
“Never,” Cuban said. “The one time I had a chance was right after those Finals, during an ESPN commercial shoot. Walked right past me. Wouldn’t even say hi. But like I said, it was a long time ago. Just never had the opportunity.”
Cuban and the Mavericks got the better of the Heat in the 2011 Finals, though Wade played well enough to win the Finals MVP had the Heat won — which might have happened if LeBron James hadn’t faltered.
“He’ll go down as one of the all-time great players,” Cuban said of Wade. “I don’t think there’s any question about that. He evolved his game, from when we played him the first time, to being a more complete player. On the court and off. So he deserves a ton of credit. It doesn’t mean it’s any more legit what happened in 2006, but they don’t look at fouls and put a ‘PF’ for phantom, for ‘F’ versus ‘L’ for legit. They wear that legit. But like I told these [reporters], I’m not typically one to hold a grudge for more than 9 1/2 years.”