Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban enjoys jokes. (Getty Images)UPDATE #1: Mark Cuban published a post on his personal blog discussing this matter on Friday afternoon. In the post, titled "Am I a Homophobe ?," the Dallas Mavericks owner characterizes the comment detailed below as "totally sophomoric" and writes that making it was a mistake. He also shares his thoughts on prejudice, his sense of humor and the challenges of "being the person I want to be." It's worth a read.
UPDATE #2: Deadspin's Erik Malinowski posted a recording of the relevant bit of audio on Friday afternoon, confirming the "you and your boyfriend" comment.
The final session of last weekend's MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was intended to be an entertaining spectacle, kind of an easy comedown after two full days of high-minded discussion of advanced statistics. The main attraction? A live recording of "The B.S. Report," the ESPN podcast hosted by columnist and Grantland.com editor-in-chief Bill Simmons, where "The Sports Guy" would interview Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Cuban is a slam dunk at Sloan. For one thing, he's an owner with a high-tech background whose Mavericks have long been at the vanguard of the NBA's analytics movement. Cuban brought in Roland Beech, the creator of advanced stat haven 82games.com, to consult for the team, and actually had Beech seated behind the bench, there to "interface" with Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, during Dallas' championship run.
Beyond that, of course, Cuban's famously quotable, liable to say just about anything when put in front of a microphone. Hence the podcast. Simmons and Cuban have publicly sparred before — why not close down the conference with them stepping back into their rhythm for some good-natured banter?
From the start, though, something seemed a little off. As Simmons and Cuban began to talk, what was intended as jocular back-and-forth felt a little more adversarial than it seemed like it should. The vibe felt off.
And then, as Carly Carioli of the Boston Phoenix wrote in a blog post accompanying an excellent feature story on the conference, "the atmosphere turned even weirder."
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... Cuban began telling the story of how he'd almost fired a Mavs employee for encouraging Dallas fans to do the wave. Cuban hates the wave. "I'd rather have 60 minutes of Kiss Cam," he said, to laughs. Simmons has long been on record as being a fan of the Kiss Cam [...] and piped up in favor of it. "I like the Kiss Cam," Simmons said.
"That's because you and your boyfriend are always on it," Cuban spat.