Cuban: 'I was wrong'
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, locked in a verbal sideshow with Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin ever since Saturday's Game 3 of the playoff series against Dallas, apologized to Martin and his mother in his latest posting on his blog.
The billionaire team owner has been accused of calling Martin a "thug" or a "punk," depending on the account, but as Cuban said on the early Tuesday morning posting, "That has become irrelevant."
"I shouldn't have said anything. Now, the reality is that this has gotten out of hand," Cuban wrote on blogmaverick.com, with the posting titled, "An Apology to Kenyon Martin's Mom."
"When tempers and such start impacting the fan experience both in Dallas and Denver, and it requires special security, that's not what I want for Mavs or Nuggets fans. No one takes more abuse and gets more threats on the road than I do. So I know exactly how it feels," Cuban wrote. "I've also had my family and friends spit on at games in this series. So I know how unpleasant that is as well.
"So at this point I would like to apologize to you and your mom, KMart, for my comment. I should have not said anything and I was wrong. Hopefully you will accept the apology and we can move on."
The NBA will take no further action against the Mavs or Cuban for anything that happened over the past few days.
"Mark has apologized on his blog and he will be reaching out to Kenyon personally," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said. "We are confident that this will be brought to an intelligent close with an adult conversation."
The Nuggets weren't happy with how the situation was resolved.
"Obviously we have voiced our concerns regarding the incidents in the stands at last night's game in Dallas with the appropriate people in the league office and have gone through the appropriate channels," Nuggets vice president of player personnel Rex Chapman said Tuesday night. "We take what took place very seriously.
"Kenyon said this morning that he would have hoped that any apology [from Cuban] would have been made in private and in person to his mother and himself. Personally I feel this entire ordeal is a silly and sad commentary. Focus should be on these amazing players, the coaches, and the terrific level of basketball being played on the court by both teams."
The saga started Saturday night in the heated aftermath of Game 3 in Dallas, when the Nuggets benefited from an NBA-acknowledged officiating mistake and beat the Mavericks 106-105 for a 3-0 series lead.
Cuban stalked across the court, blew off steam at the scorer's table, then headed down a hall leading away from the court. Martin's mother, Lydia Moore, was wearing a Nuggets jersey and was standing near the base of the section he walked past, clearly in his view.
According to Cuban, a fan called the Nuggets "thugs," and he looked at Moore and said, "That includes your son."
However, Martin's agent told The Denver Post that Cuban said, "Your son is a punk."
During Monday's shootaround in Dallas, Martin vowed to take care of things himself. "It's a little personal, and I'm going to take care of it," he said. "I'm not going to do the whole media thing, back and forth. That's his thing. I'm more of a face-to-face type of dude."
Said Nuggets coach George Karl: "Kenyon's a man. He doesn't want to discuss his problems with [reporters]. He wants to discuss his problems with Mark. I would prefer he probably do it in the summertime. That would probably be best served for both of them. Let the emotion go away and go have dinner."
According to The Denver Post, Monday night's Game 4 in Dallas proved no less incendiary. Someone poured beer on Martin's mother, and Martin's girlfriend was subjected to repeated obscenities. La La Vasquez, Carmelo Anthony's wife, ended up shouting back at the Mavericks fans, and left the game in the fourth quarter.
Martin had to find his mother in the crowd in the second period to check up on her, and even Nuggets coach Jamahl Mosley left his spot on the bench to check on her.
"I probably would use an uglier word than hostile," Karl said of the crowd Monday night. "I don't think it was very classy."
Chapman was in the crowd. "Short of a game I saw in Belgrade a couple of years ago where they were throwing chairs and setting off flares, it was about as dangerous a venue I've been in," Chapman told The Denver Post.
Chauncey Billups, who said his wife also got into a confrontation Monday night, acknowledged the Nuggets were worried about what was happening in the stands.
"It's a distraction. You get your family to travel and try to support you -- it's the only support that you have in the arena -- but you've got to worry about their safety and their well-being," Billups said. "And that's not right."
Billups added that "families should always be off-limits. They're coming to enjoy the game, support their loved ones."
The Mavericks took Tuesday off and Martin, who exchanged words with Cuban as he left the court after the game, didn't speak with reporters following the team's short film session Tuesday. But Billups called Cuban's apology inadequate.
"No, that's unacceptable, man. That's just not right. You're the owner of a team. You're held at a different standard as far as professionalism," Billups said. "Yeah, you can root for your team, but that's just not right. That's not acceptable."
In the blog posting, Cuban invited the families of Martin and other Nuggets players to watch the next game from his suite with his family, should the series return to Dallas (the Nuggets currently lead the series 3-1, with Game 5 Wednesday in Denver).
If the Nuggets' families did not want that, he would provide a separate suite, free of charge, and give them additional security.
"We tried to have enough additional security for them tonight as well, but I know your family and friends didn't feel as comfortable as they should. I apologize for that as well. This arena is my responsibility, we could and should do a better job," Cuban wrote.
Because he had promised his wife long ago that he would attend an advertising awards ceremony in Las Vegas, Cuban will not be at Game 5.
"Then I hope we both take the advice of your coach and can get together this summer," Cuban wrote. "Dinner for you and your family is on me."
Information from ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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