The NBA is a multibillion-dollar corporation that requires lots of travel for each team, and so it's not surprising that each franchise either owns or contracts out a private plane for the season. Athletes need comfort to allow their bodies to recuperate, and there's no way to do that by flying commercial. Plus, can you imagine if a team on a tight schedule had to depend on the rampant delays of commercial airlines?
The problem here is that NBA teams really depend on their planes, so when one breaks down it becomes a major issue that needs a quick fix. On Saturday night, the Chicago Bulls had some mid-air plane trouble on their way to Indianapolis to face the Pacers. They returned to Chicago and borrowed the plane of the still-undefeated Chicago Blackhawks, but that was only a short-term solution.
So, when they needed a plane, they called on a member of their NBA competition. From ESPNChicago.com:
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban lent the Bulls the Mavs' plane to fly to San Antonio on Tuesday and to return after Wednesday's game. Bulls forward Lou Amundson tweeted his appreciation to Cuban for the lift.
"Our plane broke, @mcuban loaned us his, nice guy...," Amundson tweeted in the early hours of Thursday morning. Cuban later retweeted it. [...]
The Bulls' plane is expected to be fixed and used for the rest of the season.
While Cuban's involvement understandably grabs the headlines here, the situation on Saturday appears to have been quite serious. According to the ESPNChicago story, an engine backfired and shut down, although Bulls radio announcer Bill Wennington claims everyone handled the situation calmly. I suppose that's a good sign of the team's ability to deal with pressure.
It's nice that Cuban understood that jam and helped out fellow members of the NBA fraternity. He's a competitive guy, and he made sure he did what he could to lend a hand.
Or, wait, maybe he just wanted to make sure the Bulls had as good a shot as possible to defeat the Mavericks' in-state rival Spurs on Wednesday. Cuban isn't so generous after all!