Mavericks owner Mark Cuban oversaw an organization with a sexual-harassment problem. He said he’d cross the street if he saw “a black kid in a hoodie” late at night. He praised former Clippers owner Donald Sterling years after Sterling’s racist and sexist practices had come to light.
Now we’re hearing Cuban – in a page straight from Sterling’s playbook – heckled his own player during games.
Lamar Odom had a miserable 2011-12 season in Dallas. He handled personal issues by abusing drugs, played poorly and even later apologized to Cuban. In his new book, Odom details Cuban’s profane heckles.
Odom said Cuban also once went beyond verbal degradation.
Odom, via D Magazine:
During one homestand, I was having possibly the worst game of the season. Head coach Rick Carlisle subbed me out, and I looked for a seat near the coaches, but none were available. So I went down to the only open seat at the end of the bench. Right next to Cuban.
Cuban extended his right foot and kicked my shin. “Come on, motherf[—]er!” he shouted.
I was stunned. This wasn’t a tap. I felt it. That was the last straw. It was painfully clear he did not respect me as a man.
This might get brushed off because it was so long ago and because Odom has become gossip-page fodder. Reality-TV stars generally don’t get taken seriously.
But the NBA should investigate Odom’s claim.
Maybe Cuban remembers the story differently. He deserves a chance to defend himself.
But this should receive deeper attention.