Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s history with President Donald Trump is a little knotty. Though Cuban is a successful self-made billionaire in his own right, his move to approximate Trump’s strong-to-middling turn as a reality TV show host with “Shark Tank” was a clear attempt at piggybacking on Trump’s run on “The Apprentice.” For a long spell during the nascent days of Trump’s presidential candidacy, Cuban acted as a sympathetic listener, if not supporter, in spite of Trump’s early, uproariously-awful pronouncements on the campaign stage.
Since the summer (and, some have argued, Trump’s turn away from Cuban as a viable vice presidential-candidate) the Mavs owner has acted as one of the larger and more exacting mouthpieces on the sporting scene in opposition to the new President. Openly campaigning for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the last few stops of her ill-fated turn, while appearing at the first presidential debate, Cuban was a reliable go-to quote when a media outlet needed to cut down one of the many distracting elements clouding the impetus behind Trump’s rise to power.
Speaking with NBA beat reporters prior to Dallas’ 113-95 win over Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, Cuban (who has owned the Mavs since early 2000) detailed the NBA’s role in staring down a President that could serve as a consistent combatant just in light of his work in the first week and a half in office. From the Associated Press:
”That’s who we are,” Cuban said. ”We’ve always tried to help those who were less fortunate. We’re community driven. Our players take big steps in community organizations. We take big steps as a league. And of course we’re going to have fans to say ‘stay out of politics.’
”And, for 16 years, I did, but we all have our own reasons and as American citizens, we can never forget its country first, basketball second.”
This is why we’ve already heard from Gregg Popovich, Stan Van Gundy, Kyle Lowry, Steve Kerr, and several other NBA players. This is why Los Angeles Laker Luol Deng spoke out against Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from seven mostly-Muslim countries this week, an order that also effectively bars refugees from war-torn Syria from attempting to work their way through what was, prior to January, the most effective and strident vetting process in world history.
This is why Mark Cuban went country-first, in piling on Trump’s disastrous-for-every-section-of-the-newspaper executive order:
”I understand safety,” Cuban said. ”We all want to be safer. No one wants to be unsafe. But the hypocrisy of it all – only seven countries. Now, if it had been all terrorist-hosting countries, but seven countries? That’s like locking your door with the best security ever invented and leaving all your windows open. It just makes no sense.”
Trump’s executive order is easily bashable on several levels, and Cuban has never been averse to nakedly citing economic concerns above all else (while still acting representatively mindful of more pressing, social and humanitarian issues; this isn’t a dig at the Mavs owner) when accurately discussing how certain (in this case, dubiously researched and executed, potentially economically disastrous) policies.
Speaking on Wednesday, though, Cuban stuck to the broader task ahead:
”You don’t condemn an entire country based on the mistakes of a few,” Cuban said. ”We’re a country of hopes and dreams and the American Way. The wider we take that, the safer I believe we’ll be. It’s not that I don’t understand. We’re all terrified of terrorism. We’re all terrified the next event could be near us or someone close to us.
“But it’s the old sports analogy: Character isn’t revealed when things are going well. Character is revealed when you’re under stress and being challenged. We’ll see what the character of this country is.”
Considering the level of nationwide outrage at an order Trump hoped his base would help drive through, with hot air helping fuel the flames of paranoia, Cuban should rest about as easy as one can at night in response to the initial opposition to the president’s executive order.
With many in the country either unwilling or unable to process actual information, several NBA notables hopped on Twitter on Wednesday to encourage others to contribute to the American free press. Contributing in ways that hadn’t been considered by a generation or two, due to nearly two decades’ worth of voters having grown up in an era where the free press came mostly free of charge due to the encroaching internet.
Facts aren’t often simple, but they are always straight. Even when they don’t do what you want them to do. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, a frequent and pointed critic of the Trump administration, reminded us of such upon announcing his renewal of a subscription to the Washington Post on Wednesday:
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) February 1, 2017
The #PressOn hashtag was developed in order to encourage would-be patrons of actual reported intelligence to tweet out their online receipts after re-establishing or signing up for paid newspaper subscriptions. Warriors guard Shawn Livingston also sent out his confirmation:
"Media and facts are under attack. Help fight lies by subscribing to a real journalism outlet. Tweet your receipt #PressOn
— Shaun Livingston (@ShaunLivingston) February 1, 2017
… as did Los Angeles Clipper J.J. Redick:
— JJ Redick (@JJRedick) February 1, 2017
We watched as the character of a nation revealed itself in myriad ways both inspiring and frightful during the month of January. February will allow us yet another chance to determine how, exactly, the American Story will carry onward.
– – – – – – –