Posts Tagged ‘Dallas Mavericks’

LeBron James looks back at the 2011 NBA Finals as the turning point in his career, with the Miami Heat coming up short against the Dallas Mavericks in six games despite being the heavy favorites.

“I thought it would be easy because I was teaming with some real players,” said James during Friday’s “The Shop” on HBO. “You go down there, we lose that Finals, I felt like the world had caved in. First of all, I was wearing a hat that I wasn’t accustomed to, and I bought into it because, at that point in time in my life, I was still caring about what other people thought. But that moment shaped me for who I am today.

“I’m not happy that I lost, but I left that Finals like, ‘Yo ‘Bron, what the f— was you on, man. You were overthinking everything, you didn’t show up, you didn’t do what you were supposed to do, and now you can’t even sleep at night because you didn’t give it all that you had.'”

It was evident in his numbers and on-court demeanor that James was his own worst enemy in that series. He spent the summer hyping up the number of championships the new-look Heat could potentially win, and when the opportunity presented itself to capture the title, James froze on the big stage.

He averaged 17.8 points on 15 shots and converted 32.1 percent from 3-point range while adding 7.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and four turnovers in 43.6 minutes. James was ripped to shreds by the media for not being aggressive, constantly deferring to his All-Star teammates, and putting up paltry offensive numbers when he was capable of so much more.

“After that Finals, I was just like, ‘That’s never happening again. I may lose again, I may not win everything, but I’ll never fail again,'” added James, who capped off his rant by saying overcoming that defeat was his “greatest achievement” after being asked if it was his greatest failure.

James and Miami bounced back by winning the next two championships. He then returned home to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy once again in 2016.

Advertisements

The NBA announced Wednesday that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has agreed to donate $10 million toward programs combating domestic violence and promoting the development of women in the sports industry following an NBA investigation into workplace misconduct.

Some of the Association’s key findings include:

  • Numerous instances of sexual harassment and other inappropriate conduct within the organization spanning over 20 years
    • Improper conduct toward 15 female employees by former Mavericks President and CEO Terdema Ussery, including inappropriate comments, touching, and forcible kissing
    • Improper conduct by former Mavericks ticket sales employee Chris Hyde, including inappropriate sexual comments to women, sharing of pornographic images and videos, unwanted sexual advances, and violent and threatening outbursts toward workers
    • Two acts of domestic violence by former Mavs.com reporter Earl Sneed

“The findings of the independent investigation are disturbing and heartbreaking and no employee in the NBA, or any workplace for that matter, should be subject to the type of working environment described in the report,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “We appreciate that Mark Cuban reacted swiftly, thoroughly and transparently to the allegations first set forth in Sports Illustrated, including the immediate hiring of Cynthia Marshall as CEO to effect change, but as Mark has acknowledged, he is ultimately responsible for the culture and conduct of his employees.”

In response to the findings, the league added it will place mandated sanctions on the Mavericks that requires the franchise to increase the number of women on staff, enhance formal reporting processes for victims of misconduct, implement regular anonymous surveys to evaluate workplace culture, and expand and improve the Mavericks’ human resources department.

The NBA also requires Dallas to provide quarterly reports of their implementation of the league’s recommendations, immediately report any instance of significant misconduct by an employee, enhance and update the annual “Respect in the Workplace” training for staff, and implement a program to train all staff on issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.

For his part, Cuban has apologized for the severity of the incidents and accepted responsibility.

“An apology to the women involved and to their families,” Cuban said on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Wednesday. “I’m just sorry I didn’t see it and didn’t recognize it. I didn’t know and I don’t have an explanation. And I have to be accountable for it.”

Nerlens Noel has agreed to a two-year deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder that includes a player option for the second season, sources told Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania.

The 24-year-old sat out most of last season after undergoing surgery on his left thumb. He missed 42 consecutive games and played few minutes upon his return after falling out of favor with head coach Rick Carlisle.

Noel was drafted sixth overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013, traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, and was shipped to Dallas in February of 2017. He reportedly turned down a four-year, $70-million deal from the Mavericks last summer and instead accepted his $4.1-million qualifying offer.

Noel averaged 4.4 points and 5.6 boards in 15.7 minutes through 30 contests last season.

A former Dallas Mavericks senior account executive watched pornography on his office computer while sometimes showing co-workers images of topless, naked, or lingerie-clad women on his phone, seven current and former Mavs employees told The Dallas Morning News’ Brandon George and Eddie Sefko.

The employees, who requested anonymity, said Chris Hyde’s behavior continued for six years after owner Mark Cuban warned him to stop viewing pornography on his work computer or he’d be fired. His colleagues say Hyde didn’t stop, and five of the ex-employees said they never formally complained to human resources because they thought the actions were common knowledge and accepted by superiors.

Hyde, who was fired in 2014, dropped a used condom onto the office floor in 2011, according to colleagues – who gave Hyde the nickname “Pants DJ” because they sometimes saw him rubbing himself below the waist while seated at his desk. Two sources said Cuban was informed about the condom incident.

The latest news comes as the Mavericks continue an internal investigation headed by new CEO Cynthia Marshall into reports of a workplace culture rife with sexual harassment and outright assault. Former team CEO Terdema Ussery was named repeatedly in a February Sports Illustrated report as an aggressor, while the Mavs fired former writer Earl Sneed shortly after details of domestic violence incidents in his past surfaced (including another Mavs employee’s 2014 report to the team that he’d assaulted her).

Mark Cuban is denying any wrongdoing after a report published details of a woman coming forward to police in 2011 stating the Dallas Mavericks owner sexually assaulted her in Portland, Ore.

“It didn’t happen,” wrote Cuban in an email to the Associated Press.

Willamette Week’s Nigel Jaquiss obtained a police report via a public records request from May 2011 of a woman contacting the Portland Police Bureau to speak out against Cuban. She says Cuban – who admitted to consuming alcohol that night – put his hand down the back of her jeans and penetrated her vagina with his finger as they were posing for a photo together at an Old Town nightclub.

The woman waited more than a week to come forward, later telling a detective she didn’t want to be labeled as “that girl” in a sex scandal with Cuban.

No charges were laid against Cuban, as the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office determined there was insufficient evidence.

“Because all leads have been exhausted and there remains a lack of physical or circumstantial evidence, I recommend the case be suspended,” wrote Senior Deputy District Attorney Don Rees on July 27, 2011.

Cuban’s attorney, Stephen Houze, also released a statement: “This incident never happened and her accusations are false.”

The woman was recently contacted by Willamette Week. She says she’s moved on from the incident and is “a happy person” with “a wonderful life,” but still stands by her account from seven years ago.

Mark Cuban says he messed up.

The Dallas Mavericks owner took sole responsibility for retaining former Mavs.com writer Earl K. Sneed after two separate domestic violence incidents, adding that he wasn’t aware of the “gruesome details.”

“I want to be clear, I’m not putting the blame on anybody else,” Cuban told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon on Wednesday. “It came down to my final decision that I made.”

In the first incident, Sneed got into an altercation with his then-girlfriend that left her with a fractured wrist and bruises on her body. He was arrested two months later at the Mavericks’ office, and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of family violence assault in June 2012. Sneed paid a $750 fine and completed both community service and an anger management program, which resulted in the charges being dismissed.

Cuban allowed the writer to return to the Mavericks after some counseling. Looking back, the billionaire businessman said he regrets not following up with police for more details.

“So we got it mostly from Earl’s perspective, and because we didn’t dig in with the details – and obviously it was a horrible mistake in hindsight – we kind of, I don’t want to say took his word for it, but we didn’t see all the gruesome details until just recently,” Cuban said. “I didn’t read the police report on that until just (Tuesday), and that was a huge mistake obviously.”

Sneed was involved in another domestic dispute in 2014, that time with a co-worker whom he was living with and dating, and rendered her face swollen. The woman informed her supervisor as well as HR director Buddy Pittman of the incident, but Cuban let Sneed keep his job.

The team owner indicated his rationale was wanting to control Sneed’s problem through counseling rather than setting him loose to find another job and continue to act violently toward women.

“I made the decision that we would make him go to domestic abuse counseling as a requirement to continued employment, that he was not allowed to be alone without a chaperone in the presence of any other women in the organization or any other women in a business setting at all, and he was not allowed to date anybody (who works for the Mavericks),” Cuban said.

Cuban added that he’d handle the situation differently if he had the chance. He expressed the most regret about not realizing the message his decision sent to the rest of his employees and the toxic environment it ultimately enabled.

It wasn’t until Tuesday when Sports Illustrated published findings from an investigation into the Mavericks’ misogynistic and predatory culture that Cuban ostensibly fired Sneed and Pittman.

Don Carter, who was instrumental in bringing the NBA to Dallas as a co-founding owner of the Mavericks, has died at age 84, the team confirmed.

Carter and co-owner Norm Sonju were awarded an NBA expansion franchise for Dallas in 1980. He said in 2005 that part of his decision to acquire a team was as a present to his wife, who had been a high school basketball player.

Carter sold his majority stake to Ross Perot Jr. in 1996, who in turn sold the team to Mark Cuban in 2000. Carter, however, remained a fixture at Mavericks games.

The Mavs will honor Carter with a moment of silence before their next home game on Feb. 26 against the Indiana Pacers.