On Wednesday night, the sports universe celebrated itself with the annual ESPYs, a barrel of awards and yucks presided over by Seth "Mr. Comedy" Meyers. There were NBA lockout zings and a good time was had by all.
However, the Dallas Mavericks' win in the Best Team (the biggest award of the night, I think, although who really knows) created a bit of controversy. When the team won, assorted players, including Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki(notes) and Finals participant Brian Cardinal(notes), went up on stage to give awkward speeches. But they were also joined by team owner Mark Cuban, which means everyone exchanged handshakes and some short congratulations.
By the NBA's lockout rules, Cuban should be fined for these interactions. However, SB Nation's Tom Ziller got word from an NBA spokesman that Cuban got clearance to fraternize with the enemy beforehand.
As in the case of Heat brass attending Chris Bosh's wedding, it seems as if the NBA is willing to make exceptions for important personal events or unavoidable public interactions, especially if those events involve corporate partners that pay the league billions of dollars for television rights. Still, it's a little unclear to me why certain interactions are allowed and others are not. For instance, a wedding is certainly a major event in a person's life, and his friends should be around to celebrate. But shouldn't those same friends be allowed to send each other messages on their birthdays?
It's nice that the NBA allows some interaction, but they are still creating arbitrary distinctions between what kinds of relationships are important and which aren't. It's one thing to be in a protracted labor dispute. Acting as if those same people should stop treating each other like human beings goes too far.
Whatever the case, I'm glad the Mavs got to hang out with Jason Bateman. I hear Cubes is a big fan of "Valerie's Family."
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