NBA fines Mavericks owner $500,000

Tuesday, January 8th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined dlrs 500,000 by the NBA on Tuesday for repeated public criticism of game officials.

Cuban's most recent criticism came after the Mavericks lost to San Antonio 105-103 on Saturday.

The Dallas owner was fined seven times by NBA commissioner David Stern last season for a total of dlrs 505,000. His largest previous fine was dlrs 250,000.

This was the largest fine for an individual in NBA history, the league said.

The largest team fine was the dlrs 3.5 million Stern imposed on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Oct. 25, 2000 for making a secret deal with star forward Joe Smith. Stern also voided Smith's contract and stripped Minnesota of five first-round draft choices. He later restored one of the picks.

The largest fine for an individual in all sports was dlrs 1 million. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue fined Eddie DeBartolo, the co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers, on March 16, 1999, for being involved in a Louisiana gambling fraud case. Tagliabue also extended DeBartolo's NFL banishment until at least February 2000. DeBartolo remains out of the league.

Last month, Cuban said he had hired a ``statistics expert'' to track referees during every Mavericks game.

``I can't tell you how I do it,'' the owner said. ``I got someone I trust, and I pay him a lot of money.''

Cuban's first fine last season was dlrs 25,000 on Nov. 2 for criticizing officials after a game against Seattle. Within three weeks there were two more fines, one for dlrs 5,000, the next for dlrs 15,000.

On Jan. 1, 2001, he was fined dlrs 100,000 for sitting on the baseline during a game against Minnesota. Three days later, Stern imposed the dlrs 250,000 fine for criticizing officials after a game against Detroit. There was another dlrs 10,000 fine on Feb. 15 that was accompanied by a two-game suspension for running on the court to break up a fight in a game against Cleveland. Finally, on April 15, Cuban was fined dlrs 100,000 for making a derogatory gesture.

Cuban, who purchased the Mavericks for dlrs 280 million in January 2000, said he decided to track the performance of officials this season when he decided the league was calling fewer fouls.

``The players and coaches know it, so they are more aggressive,'' he said. ``My guess is that someone is going to get hurt as a result. If we just enforced the rules as they are ... we would have a much better game.

``Refs miss calls,'' Cuban said. ``It's not one call that was the issue. It's when there are inconsistencies throughout the game that creates problems.

``A foul is a foul. A travel is a travel. If you see it, call it.''