Mark Cuban Blasts Officials After Controversial Loss

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban faces a hefty fine after his tirade against NBA officiating following Saturday’s loss in Atlanta. Cuban expressed his anger in a series of tweets immediately after the game, then added more criticism while talking with reporters in the locker room, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Cuban was irate over a reversed goaltending call in the closing seconds where the Hawks still wound up with two points. A layup attempt by Trae Young was swatted away by Dorian Finney-Smith. John Collins scored on a putback, but goaltending was called on the original shot. When a replay showed the block was clean, referees allowed Collins’ shot, saying he was in a shooting motion before the whistle blew.

“One of the refs told one of the players it was an inadvertent whistle that came after the putback – but everybody who was watching it said it came before the putback,” Cuban said. “That’s neither here nor there because if it’s a goaltend and then it’s an inadvertent whistle, you stop play. But then they went and reviewed it. And they reviewed it for a goaltend. So either you can’t review it because it’s an inadvertent whistle, or you review it and it’s a goaltend, the play stops right there, unless there’s something I don’t know, and that’s always possible, but I’ve never seen anything like that.”

After talking about that specific play, Cuban turned his attention to the overall state of officiating in the NBA, which he says has “gotten progressively worse.” He blames the decline on a lack of proper training as well as the league’s hiring practices, which he claims have resulted in the people in charge hiring their friends.

“Because we’ve had such poor training, when some of the older refs retired, the ones that come and take their place are not ready,” Cuban said. “And why are they not ready? Because we had one guy running all the G League training, George Tolliver, I think that’s who it is. One guy running all the G League training and very little support. So by the time they get here, if they’re not good enough already, you ain’t all of a sudden going to make them better. And I’ve said that to the league a dozen times.”

Cuban wants to see referees spend more time in G League to get them ready for the NBA. He said the situation may be worse than it was in 2002, when he was fined $500K for claiming that director of officiating Ed Rush wasn’t qualified to run a Dairy Queen.

“It would be one thing if we were making positive progress. But we’re not,” Cuban said. “Out of the 70 refs, give or take, I think I counted 17 that have five years or less experience. That’s a lot. And you can’t expect new refs to be any good. And that’s because we do such a horrific job of training in the G League. Not a poor job. Not a marginal job. We apply literally no resources. The Joey Crawfords and Bennette Salvatores, I’m so glad I can call those guys out, because they’re awful at their jobs.”

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8 thoughts on “Mark Cuban Blasts Officials After Controversial Loss

  1. thatsright

    Officiating is shameful in all of the major sports. With the MLB strike zones different for every ump, NBA players jumping into defenders to draw fouls, uncalled holding occurring several times on each NFL play, the NHL full of dirty tactics and controversy it is time to reimagine officiating in general. I don’t have the answers, but these leagues need to invest in improvements. Good for you, Mark for having the guts to call them out. It will probably result in nothing but an indignant fine but they’re wrong, not you.

    • LordBanana

      There is no real developmental pipeline for refs. Being a referee is an absolutely terrible job at any level except for the very top. You get ridiculous amounts of abuse, no matter the age group, for extremely little pay.
      A ref is either hated or tolerated, who wants to do that for no money.

  2. x%sure

    NBA officials have called the jumping-into-defenders shooting fouls, for a long time. They should definitely stop that but I don’t see a new crew changing that.

    NBA refs are as good as ever, however good that is. To say everything is worse is to not recall, to buy into happy-music propaganda rather than remembering how mad you were at the time.

    There are more black refs than ever. Why shouldn’t there be? That’s probably the reason for the high turnover, some of that PC going on. But they’re fine, comparitively, much better than the new NFL black refs who can struggle to get everything right on pass receptions. NBA training has been remarkable considering how many new faces there have been.

    It is imperfect but people forget their past frustrations. How good can it get?–Their are still people who think that when a player falls, someone fouled, so someone should be whistled. TV announcers forget that when a player dribbles into traffic, it’s a probable no-call, despite what slo-mo uncovers. There was too much going on, too fast, to tell, and it was the driver’s fault anyway. Pass.

    Goaltending is always guesswork. There should be backboard cameras with timely AI installed to make the call instead of relying on a back official to see it.

    Well I went on too, gonna be a fine.

  3. TJECK109

    As smart as Cuban is, you’d have to think he would have come up with a plan to improve officiating. In fact I bet he has, but he doesn’t want his name attached to it because he knows it’s impossible to get every play right when humans are involved.

  4. Buckman

    Tilting at windmills. There is no quantitative study done on referees because it would would too difficult and time consuming to conduct. There will only be individual events that are observed and used as “evidence” of bad reffing in the NBA. Cuban has no leg to stand on here. If ref X makes a bad call or 2 bad calls, how many good calls has he/she made? Defining ref quality based upon bad calls is like rejecting a cancer treatment because it does not work on everybody or even makes some people worse. You have to look at all the data. You have to look at correct and incorrect calls instead of basing a conclusion on the complaints of players, coaches, owners who have been the victims of a bad call.

    • TJECK109

      Agreed but you have to look at the entire body of work, not just one game where one or two calls are missed. One or two calls a game is over 160 per year per ref. One or two calls per 3 officials on the court adds up quick. But I agree that there is a huge disparity between the good calls and missed calls.

      I’ve never heard Cuban slam officials when a call was in his favor. If you truly are concerned about officiating then stop being a homer and whine only when calls go against you.

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