MARK CUBAN

AGITATOR

The Mavericks' owner drew fire when he said the NFL was "10 years away from an implosion." He later added, on Facebook, that fans were concerned about player safety and misbehavior and that the league risked TV oversaturation.

DAN PATRICK:Why did you feel compelled to go on Facebook and clarify your comments about the NFL?

MARK CUBAN: It was just a conversation [with reporters] while I was on the StairMaster before a Mavs game. It's not like I had a press conference. It blew up. A little headline porn goes a long way.

DP:What did you mean by implosion?

MC: It just means they're going to suffer. It doesn't mean they're going out of business. But when you're at the top of the mountain, there's not a lot of directions you can go. If they continue on the course of adding nights of coverage ... then all of a sudden Thursday through Monday is NFL football.

DP:Why did you say that fantasy football's falling out of favor is a risk for the NFL?

MC: I'm just paying attention to the tech world. There's always going to be something different that comes along. There's always a chance that fantasy football will turn into Donkey Kong 9.0.

DP:Would you want to own an NFL team?

MC: I don't think I can afford one.

DP:If you could, would you?

MC: I love the competition. Had this been a few years back, before I had three kids, I would have gone after it. But now I'm at a different point in my life. There aren't enough hours in the day.

DP:If you were involved in the NFL, would you have made the same comments?

MC: I would have said them privately.

DP:Can you get fined by Roger Goodell?

MC: I hope so. That would be even more interesting.

DP:How do you stop NBA teams from tanking for the draft?

MC: My solution has always been that if you have one of the three worst records, you're not eligible for one of the three best picks. That way, you've got to at least fight your way to the fourth-worst record.

DP:You still stand by your statement that Dirk Nowitzki will end up being a greater player than Larry Bird?

MC: I would say "different." They were on different types of teams. Dirk had one Hall of Famer, Jason Kidd. Larry had a string of them.

DP:I'm not sure people agree with you.

MC: The ring count is the difference. Maybe if Dirk had two like he should....

DP:Still thinking about that Dwyane Wade call in the 2006 Finals?

MC: That call? That series.

DP:How much does that still bother you?

MC: It kills me, obviously, if I'm bringing it up eight years later.

Guest Shots

Say What?

Magic Johnson told me he's disappointed by some of his former team's decisions: "We have too many ex-Lakers working for other teams—Pat Riley, Jerry West and now Phil Jackson. They should be in Los Angeles.... I thought [Jackson] could have worked his magic here." ... Warren Buffett would like to offer the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge again next season—the last perfect entry was eliminated in the 25th game. "I would have preferred to see it go longer," Buffett said. "I'd like to modify it so people have a better shot." ... Michigan State coach Tom Izzo on rumors that he was heading to the NBA: "I have no interest in coaching the Detroit Pistons right now. Does that mean I'd never look at an NBA job? I don't think anyone should say never. I've seen my good buddy Nick Saban say never, and then he gets killed."

PHOTOMICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK) PHOTOMIKE STONE/REUTERS (CUBAN) PHOTOPETER READ MILLER/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (JOHNSON) PHOTODESIREE NAVARRO/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (BUFFETT) PHOTOROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (IZZO)

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