Trail Blazers

Mark Cuban on Carmelo Anthony's podcast: Let's start an NBA version of the World Cup

Trail Blazers

Every few years the discussion arises if NBA stars should be participating in the Olympics.

Partly because it’s believed if younger players, whether they’re stars or not, would be able to compete and possibly win gold in the competition.

The discussion has been reignited after the league is coming off a 72-game in a condensed window.

On 'What's Your Glass? with Carmelo Anthony,' Mavericks owner Mark Cuban revealed he wanted the NBA to have their own version of a World Cup. His idea has been bubbling in his head for almost 20 years and has broached former commissioner David Stern and current commissioner Adam Silver on the idea.

“I’ve been arguing this for 20 years,” Cuban said. “We’re sending our best stars to the Olympics. Guys don’t get hurt a lot but they do get warned down, especially after this year. All it does is it makes the International Olympic Committee billions of dollars. That money should be going to you and us. Literally, if we did our own World Cup, could we get billions of dollars? Yeah, after a few years.”

It’s an interesting conversation although it seems like it would take a lot for the league to create their own intentional competition. Since the NBA is a globally recognized business and is the aspiration of many basketball players around the world, from a promotional perspective it wouldn’t be difficult for them to execute.


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The tricky part could be because of the allure obtaining a gold medal has on people and respective nations. The Olympics are embedded into almost every nation and it’s proven difficult to change something that’s been around for generations and thousands are willing to attempt to qualify for it. 

Besides that idea, Cuban has been tasked for almost two decades of building the brand of the Mavericks. Two decades later and he’s done exactly that. More so from the help of Dirk Nowitzki’s development, but also Cuban being able to assemble a front office wise enough to construct a team that can compete.

The better the team is, the easier it is to win over fans. A simple formula that’s difficult to execute.

“I don’t own the Mavs, Mavs fans own the Mavs,” Cuban said. “I’m just responsible for the bills. When a team is on a playoff run or wins a championship, the city is one fire. Everybody’s talking, everybody’s fired up. Then you win a championship and they throw a parade. There’s no other business where they throw a parade other than professionals. There’s such a tight bond between people. Families, communities, and their favorite teams.”

Sports bring people together. The pandemic has shown how important sports are from an entertainment and business perspective. So many people’s livelihoods depend on if a game is played or not, especially those working from the community.

The deeper a team goes, the better it is for the team which leads to a happier fan base and more recognition. 

Entering the 2021-’22 season the Mavericks hope they’ll have enough to make a deep playoff run. The team began its offseason bringing in Jason Kidd as their new head coach and Nico Harrison as their general manager.

“With J-Kidd and Nico, we know we have a good squad -- Rick was great, one of the best X’s and O’s coaches we have,” Cuban said. “At the same time sometimes you just need a different voice. Having J-Kidd come in and the benefit of his knowledge in a future Hall of Fame point guard in Luka matched up with J-Kidd, KP (Kristaps Porzingis) a potential future Hall of Famer. Just having the unicorn in a better position to succeed. I think KP  got a bad wrap this season.”

Kidd and Harrison are inheriting a team led by two young players with Hall of Fame potential. It’ll be on them and Cuban to assemble the best roster around them and hope both remain healthy and Porzingis responds strongly from his playoff struggles.