Mar 12, 2020
Mark Cuban on NBA Season Being Suspended: “This is Much Bigger Than Basketball”
The NBA decided yesterday to suspend its season indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak. Mark Cuban spoke with the media after his team the Dallas Mavericks played their last game prior to the suspension. Read the full transcript of the press conference here.
Mark Cuban: (00:00)
Okay, so we won the last game of the season, so we’re officially champs, so I’ll take your questions now. [inaudible 00:00:08]
Speaker 2: (00:09)
How concerned are you about this whole situation?
Mark Cuban: (00:11)
Well obviously, very concerned, but it’s not necessarily about basketball. Obviously this is much bigger than basketball. I’m concerned about will my kids have school or not, I’m concerned are we all doing the right thing because this is obviously new territory, this is certainly a black swan event in my experiences, and so basketball actually becomes secondary. But in terms of basketball, as I said earlier, nobody at the Dallas Mavericks is an expert on infectious diseases or their spread, and so this is not a situation where you fake it to your make it, or try to sound or act important. The NBA has hired people with expertise in those areas and they’re working with people from the government and other expert areas, of other people with expertise. And so we have to defer to them. And that’s exactly what we’ll do. If the NBA, effectively if one player, two players, whatever it is already have it, we’ll have to act accordingly. And I think the NBA made the right decision.
Speaker 3: (01:13)
There’s a board of governors meeting today, obviously, it was before all the info about Utah was out there, but it was reported, some owners, most of the owners were in favor of playing games without fans, some of them were interested in completely postponing the season. Where did you fall on that issue?
Mark Cuban: (01:31)
I fall just in the exact place that I told you. I don’t have the expertise at all and I’m not in a position, when it’s something this critical, when people’s health and the safety of our fans and customers is at stake, I didn’t have an opinion. We said that effectively we’ll go with what the NBA says because I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know and I’ll defer to those who do.
Speaker 4: (01:57)
Mark, this evening on ESPN you mentioned something about your concern for some of the employees, the part time people that work here. Could you reiterate that?
Mark Cuban: (02:05)
Yeah. In talking to, when some of the things were coming up that we might not play games, and this was yesterday, I reached out to the folks at the arena and our folks at the Mavs to find out what it would cost to support, financially support people who aren’t going to be able to come to work.
Mark Cuban: (02:24)
They get paid by the hour and this was their source of income. And so we’ll do some things there, we may ask them to go do some volunteer work in exchange. We’ve already started the process of having a program in place and I don’t have any details to give, but it’s certainly something that’s important to me.
Speaker 5: (02:41)
This is all transpired so rapidly. What are your feelings right now?
Mark Cuban: (02:45)
I mean, when I heard Michael Finley saw the announcement and I was just stunned. I mean, it was just, I have this saying, “Life is half random,” and this is the random side where it takes twists and turns and this is something out of a movie, and you just don’t expect it to happen in real life. But that’s the randomness of the world we live in.
Mark Cuban: (03:11)
And so it’s stunning, but we are where we are and we have to be smart in how we respond. We, again as I just said, this is people’s lives at stake. This isn’t about basketball, this isn’t about the Mavericks, this isn’t about, when do we start, or do we start, or how do we start? This is a pandemic, a global pandemic, where people’s lives are at stake and I’m a lot more worried about my kids and my mom who’s 82 years old, and talking to her and telling her to stay in the house, than I am about when we play our next game. Look, we have a lot of flexibility, I don’t want to speak for Adam or the NBA, but in terms of the NBA basketball side of this, we have a lot of flexibility because there’s nothing that happens after June 12th when we typically end our season.
Mark Cuban: (03:58)
It’s more important for us to get it right.
Speaker 2: (04:02)
Did you have any concerns about playing in a packed house tonight?
Mark Cuban: (04:05)
No, I didn’t, I didn’t really, I was actually shocked that we had so many people, to be honest. I was half expecting it to be half full. The good news is that you could tell by the screaming and yelling, it was a very young audience. And so that probably makes a lot of sense. But no, I didn’t have any reason to believe that anybody put anybody else at risk. And we tried, last week we tried to be proactive. You saw we handed out all the Purells to everybody. That’s not going to stop everything, but at least we can try to take a little bit of action to try to minimize where we could.
Speaker 6: (04:42)
Mark Cuban: (04:45)
Anybody else? All right, thanks everybody.
Speaker 6: (04:49)
[inaudible 00:04:49] coming out guys.
Mark Cuban: (04:52)
Well let me say one other thing, because I know it’ll come up and JJ, you can feel free to, in terms of what we told the players, we told them to be very vigilant, that this is not a situation where the season’s ended. Go do what you’re going to do. We expect you to stay in Dallas, and the NBA told us that we’ll continue to practice and do rehab and continue to do work. And I was very specific as was Coach, to say who you talked to is very important. If bringing people in from out of town because you have downtime. No, that’s not going to work. That you have to be accountable to the people you’re dealing with and who you know for your own personal safety and obviously for everybody else’s. So this is not a vacation. This is effectively self quarantining everybody because we, again, it’s our responsibility to be vigilant, and the players are in a unique position because wherever they are, people want to come up to them.
Mark Cuban: (05:47)
And we had told them when we thought we were going on the road to only eat in the hotel and not to go out eat and only use room service. And we reiterated that same thing after the game, that you have to be very, very vigilant and very careful because you are at risk, and if you have family here, whether it’s your children or your grandmother, you don’t want to put them at risk. So be very, very careful and vigilant.