Mark Cuban was in his standard floor seat behind the basket in the arena when he was informed to check his email. Despite the call he had with the league office a few hours ago, Cuban didn’t see the news on his screen coming. The NBA suspended play, effective immediately.
The NBA Board of Governors had a meeting on Wednesday to discuss further steps in light of the Coronavirus spreading in the US. A few teams, according to Woj, were willing to put the games on hiatus, but the rest were in favor of proceeding with games in empty arenas. One team was in favor of continuing the status quo, playing in front of fans – the New York Knickerbockers. Adam Silver planned to announce the decision to proceed with games being played in empty arenas with only necessary staff present when Rudy Gobert tested positive, and everything changed.
Quickly after the news broke, Cuban was on the air, commenting on the situation. As surprised as everybody else, he pointed out the most important thing right now is to stay safe and take all the necessary precautions. On the spot, Cuban sent a critical message that the Mavericks will develop a program for all their hourly workers. Staying healthy is priority no.1, but the reality is there are a lot of workers who work on an hourly basis, and any work stoppage will impact them a lot sooner than full-time staff.
“For the next four Mavs games that were on the schedule, we’ll pay our hourly employees as if they worked, and we also have to deal with the downstream effect for smaller businesses that don’t have the balance sheet to survive this.”Mark Cuban, via ESPN
Cuban pointed out that the Mavs plan to be involved in the community and support their business partners in any way they can. Their fans have been loyal to the team for a long time, and the Mavericks want to return that support. Cuban also shared insight into the possibility of the season continuing in a few months and stretching through mid-August.
“The only reason we haven’t played games after June 12th in the past is because of our TV partners. As you guys know, the households using TV drops significantly. The TV landscape had changed dramatically over the last few years. Those numbers and those equations have all changed significantly. Depending on how it plays out, I can see us playing the last seven to ten games of the regular season to get everybody on course and then going right into the playoffs.”Mark Cuban, via ESPN
It’s good to hear that continuing the season, even if we have a stoppage of 60 days, isn’t impossible, at least from the owner’s perspective. This would clash with the Olympics, but the Tokyo 2020 executive board has already said they will strongly consider canceling the games in case the pandemic isn’t under control till mid-April. The way things are developing right now that might not be the case. We will be posting regular updates on all relevant information in our new “Coronavirus” category, and our Facebook and Instagram pages.