Cuban: Season opener vs. Lakers now 'must-see TV'
So it was only a matter of time before the Mavericks owner weighed in on the Kobe Bryant scandal.
During an interview with Access Hollywood's Pat O'Brien, Mark Cuban commented on the charges filed in Colorado against Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers guard accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman.
"From a business perspective, it's great for the NBA. It's reality television, people love train-wreck television and you hate to admit it, but that is the truth, that's the reality today," Cuban told the TV show.
NBA commissioner David Stern quickly rebutted Cuban's comments on Tuesday.
"Any suggestion that there will be some economic or promotional benefit to the NBA arising from the charge pending against Kobe Bryant is both misinformed and unseemly," Stern said in a statement. "That idea does not reflect the views of the NBA, NBA owners generally, or others associated with our sport."
In its Tuesday editions, USA Today asked Cuban to elaborate on his "It's great for the NBA" comments.
"Notoriety sells in this day and age," Cuban told the newspaper. "... I can't think of anyone who is going through a legal problem who doesn't get high attention. Is that cold-blooded? Yeah. But it is bottom-line reality."
Cuban added: "I don't want to compare Kobe with O.J. (Simpson) because Kobe's case hasn't been decided, but the reality is there is more interest in him (Kobe) now."
Cuban also said the intrigue will make Dallas' season opener against the Lakers on Oct. 28 "must-see TV."
"Take away the personal aspect and the reality is that there will be more people watching our game against the Lakers," Cuban told USA Today. "Who do you know won't watch the Lakers game with Kobe?"
Bryant is scheduled to attend a preliminary hearing on Wednesday at the Eagle County Justice Center at approximately 6 p.m. ET. Bryant will be read the charges against him and may enter a plea.
On Monday, a possible witness may have emerged in the investigation.
Bobby Pietrack, a bellman at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, told police that he saw his 19-year-old co-worker shortly after she left Bryant's room on the night of the alleged sexual assault, ESPN's Shelley Smith reported Monday.
Pietrack reportedly told police that the woman was visibly upset, disheveled and had red marks on her neck and face, according to Smith.
Sources close to the investigation say Pietrack is considered the first link in the chain of what is called "immediate outcry," meaning he is the first person the alleged victim cried out to immediately following the alleged incident.
The alleged victim went to police the following day, approximately 13 hours after the alleged assault. Sources also said that photos taken of her at that point show the marks. Those photos are considered part of the prosecution's evidence.
Pietrack has not spoken to reporters and has declined repeated requests by ESPN.
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