PHILADELPHIA -- Dallas' Mark Cuban has never been one to shy away from controversy.
The "Maverick" owner's career in the NBA has been littered with fines levied for critical statements about the league and its referees, something that has made him and his thoughts a bit of a cause-celebre, at least among those who think David Stern is well aware there is a host of Tim Donaghy's lurking around every corner.
By June of 2006, when people seemed to stop counting, Cuban had already amassed nearly $1.7 million in fines for 13 separate incidents. Even his star player, Dirk Nowitzki, questioned where his owner's head was at.
"He's got to learn how to control himself as well as the players do," Dirk told ABC.com at the time. "We can't lose our temper all the time on the court or off the court, and I think he's got to learn that, too. He's got to improve in that area and not yell at the officials the whole game. I don't think that helps us... He sits right there by our bench. I think it's a bit much. But we all told him this before. It's nothing new. The game starts, and he's already yelling at them. So he needs to know how to control himself a little."
Needless to say, Cuban has never wavered and still sits right by the Mavs bench, yelling at the officials from the opening tip and piling up the fines. He's blasted the refs for their kid-glove handling of Dwyane Wade in the '06 Finals, yelled at Kenyon Martin's mother and boasted about trying to sign LeBron James before the superstar was actually a free agent.
For those of us who didn't grow up listening to Art Bell and aren't booked on Jesse Ventura's latest episode of Conspiracy Theory, Cuban's rants were met with bemusement and a tip of the cap for the good copy.
Well, Cuban is now at it again and this time he's set his sights close to home -- at the media.
"I'm going to make this short and sweet," Cuban recently wrote on his blog. "In the year 2011, I'm not sure I have a need for beat writers from ESPN.com, Yahoo, or any website for that matter to ever be in our locker room before or after a game.
"I think we have finally reached a point where not only can we communicate any and all factual information from our players and team directly to our fans and customers as effectively as any big sports website, but I think we have also reached a point where our interests are no longer aligned. I think those websites have become the equivalent of paparazzi rather than reporters."
Always ill-informed, Cuban seemed to be taking aim at websites like Deadspin or The Big Lead and lumping them together with legitimate news gathering organizations. He's also had a big problem with reporters that actually get paid, as if that affected our ability to do the job we were hired for.
"Reporters whose primary job is to write for an internet site typically fall into two categories. Paid and unpaid," Cuban wrote. "Unpaid writers typically do it as a labor of love and IMHO [in my humble opinion] far exceed the influence and impact of their paid counterparts.
"Sure there are many who just rant and rave, but enough realize that if they work hard and provide support for their writing, they may just get noticed by a big website who will pay them to write . If you can back up what you say with well thought out and in depth analysis, you know the things that some people used to call journalism, you are welcome in the locker room."
If you really read the tea leaves, Cuban is just upset at objective reporters that actually have the testicular fortitude to dare criticize his team. He wants "state-run media" with sycophants, telling him how great he and his team are.
For a fan, it's gotta be tough to dislike Cuban. He is quite simply one of the best owners in sports. Sure he's a bit nutty and hasn't brought a championship to Dallas just yet, but he will never stop trying. The Mavs owner just doesn't accept losing and he lives and dies with his team. He is the NBA version of George Steinbrenner, a guy who will never cut corners or worry about budgets in his quest for the title.
That said, if you really love the Mavericks, is this the guy you want disseminating information with no checks and balances?
If you want an unbiased, lucid view of the your favorite basketball team in north Texas, DallasMavericks.com is the last place you should be looking.