DALLAS - Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s jaw-dropping reaction when the NBA announced its intentions to suspend the regular season until further notice due to the increasing threat from the Coronavirus is going viral for its relate-ability.
However, it is his comments in the wake of the unprecedented news that say the most about Cuban as an owner and speak loudly to his character.
The basketball world (and the entire globe) is rocked. News broke that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus ... as here in Dallas, the Mavs were at the AAC and involved in a meeting with the Denver Nuggets.
Shortly after the Gobert news and the NBA’s decision, Cuban was interviewed courtside at the American Airlines Center. His initial shock was transformed into thoughts that were calm, cool, collected and classy.
“It’s not about basketball or money,'' Cuban said as the Mavs played, on eventually orchestrating a surprise victory. (Game story here). "If this thing is just exploding to the point where players and others have it, you have to think about your family and make sure you are doing this the right way… Now it’s much more personal.”
“What about all the people that work here on an hourly basis? We will put together a program for them.”
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“This is much bigger than the NBA.”
Cuban’s reaction covered a concern for his team’s health, the arena workers and his family. That is the kind of composed view we need during this concerning time.
The World Health Organization had already declared the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, a "global pandemic.'' The NBA has acted swiftly. And Mark Cuban has reacted smartly.
After the game, Cuban expanded on his plan to aid part-time employees who will be affected by the NBA postponement.
“When some of the things were coming up that we might not play games – this was yesterday – I reached out to the folks at the arena and our folks at the Mavs to find out what it would cost to support, financially support, people who aren’t going to be able to come to work," Cuban said. "You know, they get paid by the hour, and this was their source of income. So, we’ll do some things there. We may ask them to go do some volunteer work in exchange, but we’ve already started the process of having a program in place. I don’t have any details to give, but it’s certainly something that’s important to me.”
Cuban's preparedness is relieving and his perspective is important. Like many of our readers, he is concerned for the health of the elderly, including his 82-year-old mother.
"This isn’t about basketball, this isn’t about the Mavericks, this isn’t about when do we start, or do we start or how do we start," Cuban said. "This is a pandemic, a global pandemic, where people’s lives are at stake. I’m a lot more worried about my kids and my mom who is 82 years old, in talking to her and telling her to stay in the house, than I am about when we play our next game."