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June 12, 2011

Mark Cuban


Dallas Mavericks 105
Miami Heat 95

MARK CUBAN: Did anybody inform you guys, we're the world champions? (Laughing).

Q. Mark, what does this moment mean to you?
MARK CUBAN: Obviously, it feels great. But I'm happiest for Dirk, J-Kidd, Jason Terry, Donald Carter, Mavs fans, the city of Dallas. Hopefully I'll have more cracks at it. These are the guys laid it out every single day, played through pain. So I'm happiest for them.

Q. You at the beginning of this season or before that, actually, in the summer, warned that the way the Heat put this team together and LeBron James coming here might not be the answer. What do you see this series as saying about that and the way your team won instead?
MARK CUBAN: I could care less about the Heat. That's their problem. We played a great game. The Heat is a great team. They did their thing, we did ours. We scored more points. So that's all that matters.

Q. Mark, can you just talk about your decision to be quiet and how that came about? Why you did it?
MARK CUBAN: Sure. The big mystery, huh? We had just done playing Portland and going to L.A., I knew the questions everybody was going to ask. They were going to ask me about my repartee with Phil Jackson and the things I said about Ron Artest. I didn't want to get in the middle of a back-and-forth about that. And then we went to Oklahoma City and I was going to get asked about why didn't I vote to have the Sonics move so close to me? Why didn't I vote against it? Then about 2006, it didn't make any sense to say anything. The quieter I got, the more we won. I didn't want to break the karma.

Q. Do you think there was a direct correlation?
MARK CUBAN: No. Do you really think these guys are going to play any harder or less hard because of what I say? That's disrespectful. They put it on the line. They didn't care if I was naked at every game. They were going to go out there and play as hard as they could.

Q. Mark, Jason Terry has probably got the second biggest mouth in the organization ranked only behind you. How sweet is it to see him back up all his talk during the series especially tonight, after everything he had been through five years ago, play a huge role in slamming the door?
MARK CUBAN: What was special for Jet, other than the fact he's been here so long -- remember, this is the guy we brought in because we lost Steve Nash. And Steve Nash goes on to win two MVPs. Obviously a phenomenal player. Jet had to take all that criticism. If you remember, we lost that first series to Phoenix, and he really took a bunch of grief and over multiple playoffs, the media was killing him. He can't perform in the playoffs. He's not clutch in the playoffs. He's too this, he's too that. He shoved it up everybody's ass and showed them we can play. That's why I'm happy for Jet.

Q. Mark, having seen you get the team years ago in a green jacket, wasn't even the colors at that point, and all the guys on the dais that have talked about the redemption and the things they've learned over the years that enabled them to win a championship, what would you say you've learned as an owner? And then maybe your loyalty to Dirk as well when a lot of people he was done as an elite player.
MARK CUBAN: I learned chemistry matters. That it's a team game. That you have to have players that believe in each other and trust each other and trust your coach. And that's a process. It doesn't happen overnight. There's no quick solutions. There's not a single template for winning the championship. If there was, everybody would do it. And so you just have to ignore people from the outside and just really stick to what you know and try to get smarter and put the team -- be opportunistic. That's what the Dallas folks have heard me say forever. We're going to be opportunistic and build a team. That's what we tried to do. What was the second, with Dirk?
It's interesting with Dirk. One of the things that I've seen over all these years is that guys who would come from other teams who played him once, twice, four times a year, had one impression. And you start to see them watch Dirk on a day-in and day-out basis, how hard he works, how hard he practices. Then watching him in a game, guys would start shaking their heads, because you don't really truly appreciate who he is and what he does and how hard he works until you see him on a daily basis.
I've never questioned Dirk. Never even a little bit. There was never -- I mean, I remember one time years ago when Shaq was available -- no, Kobe I think it was. And there was a discussion. He came to me and he said, "You know what, I understand if you think this is a deal you need to pull." I'm like, it ain't going to happen. Because chemistry is important -- no disrespect to Kobe. Kobe is obviously a great player with lots of rings. But Dirk helps set the culture of a team. And culture is critically important for a winning organization. It's critically important for a successful team.
Like I said, if there was a template for winning the championship, every team would do it. So you just have to hope you get a little bit lucky, hope things break your way and you go out there and do it. Dirk has always been the cornerstone for that.

Q. Mark, before the game you joked with me saying, "It's just another game." Okay, is it just another game? And are you ever going to take that hat off?
MARK CUBAN: You know, I probably won't even shower for six months. No, obviously it's not just another game. And it's going to be special. My biggest fear is that I can't remember every little part of it, every emotion, every feeling that I went through as the clock was winding down. During the game -- it was funny, when we played Miami five years ago, right when we were up however many points we were in the third quarter, I remember thinking to myself, we just might sweep this team. And all of a sudden all went to hell. I just kept telling myself, keep your head down, don't get excited, just watch and let these Hall-of-Fame players and this team do their thing. And that's all I did.
As the clock started winding down and we were up nine or whatever with a minute to go, it dawned on me, this is really going to happen. I was just hoping I could just do an emotional videotape of myself and just keep it. So that's my biggest hope and fear that I'll be able to feel this forever.

Q. How about the feeling of how you got here. You beat the Lakers, you beat the Heat. Teams that have ruined your life for several years.
MARK CUBAN: I could care less about the other teams. I care about our team. I care about the heart we've shown. I care about the focus, the determination, the fact that we were able to exclude everybody who doubted us. You know, like I said after the game, there are folks in the media calling us "the one-and-done boys." Teams who wanted to play us. I don't care what other people think. I try to pay attention to who we are and what we're doing and what our culture is and do we have the people who can execute what we're trying to accomplish. Nobody inside that locker room ever doubted it.

Q. Mark, obviously it flew under the radar this summer when Dirk sat down with you and took less money to come back to the Mavs, even though guys were coming together like the Heat to play together. Now to see him win this championship, how gratifying is that for you?
MARK CUBAN: Let me just say, it wasn't quite like people imagined. We were going to go out and get our big three. Dirk did a lot of recruiting. He went out and got Brian Cardinal. (Laughter) He got Ian Mahinmi. He knew that was going to take -- Dirk is like that. He'll take one for the team. So he took a little less money so we could afford Ian and Brian.

Q. Mark, Dirk has taken one for the team pretty much from the beginning. He's never been given the credit of a great player. People have questioned his heart, his toughness, his game, everything about him, even in this series. When you observe that, what goes through your mind and what do you think he changed in terms of his own perception, his own legacy by getting this team to the top of the mountain?
MARK CUBAN: I've watched Dirk evolve from being comfortable just fitting in, to recognizing his own talent, to learning from Michael Finley and Steve Nash and taking lessons from them, to knowing he had to raise his game when Steve left, to recognizing this past year in particular that he had a particular job to do beyond what he did on the court. I mean, there was a point we went up -- when we went up 2-0 in the Lakers' game, afterwards everybody was really excited, and he walked into the locker room and he quieted everybody down, he said look, I've been up 2-0 and lost and down 2-0 and won. This is not who we are. It's about winning this series. It's not about winning some games.
To me that and just the vocalness he's shown on the court. You'll see him engage with guys and get mad at guys when they're not doing their job and not having a problem with guys getting mad at him. That was the next step he took over this past year that I think that took us to the next level.

Q. Mark, Tyson Chandler, his acquisition, was considered huge to the way your team plays defense. He's a free agent coming up this year. How important of a piece do you think he is to what you accomplished tonight? And kind of what's your long-range view of trying to keep him around for years to come?
MARK CUBAN: TC obviously was critical. Right when he got there, we kind of viewed him as our quote, unquote, Kevin Garnett. The guy that was going to be vocal, that was going to hold people accountable. I remember having conversations with him, it's okay to yell. This team has enough camaraderie and trust that you can do those types of things. He kept on bringing it. He had challenges during the year with foul trouble and different things, but when it came down to crunch time -- that block he got in the fourth quarter was legendary. I mean, that's a tide turner that I'll remember forever. And Tyson Chandler, we don't get here obviously without Tyson Chandler.

Q. So what does it look like in terms of re-signing him?
MARK CUBAN: I don't get into that at all. If you want to write the check, I'm happy to have the conversation. But I don't get into that at all.

Q. Mark, I know tonight has been a whirlwind for you, what's been your favorite conversation or your favorite moment that you've had in the 90 minutes since you guys have won the title?
MARK CUBAN: Holding my kids up on the podium. Kissing my son and saying "This could be yours," and realizing how corny that was. My kids are young. They're 7 and 4 and almost 2, and don't fully comprehend everything that's going on. Kissing my wife. It was cool. I felt like Rocky going "Adrian!" looking for my kids. That was special.

Q. Mark, could you talk about the validation you feel, not only as an owner, but as a decision-maker with this team, seeing the roster you and Donnie pieced together one by one?
MARK CUBAN: If I listened to anybody from the outside, I would drive myself nuts. Donnie and I work together. He evaluates talent. I kind of manage the checkbook and balance the assets for the short term versus the long term. What I've learned in these 11 years is you just got to stay focused and just believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment. We've come close. We've accomplished a lot. But it's nice to finally get over the hump.
A lot of that credit goes to Donnie Nelson, too. He works his ass off. Keith Grant, Terdema, all the people in the organization are part and parcel to this.

Q. One of the critical junctures in the Cuban era was right after the New Orleans first-round loss. You first traded for Kidd. It was time to part ways with Avery.
MARK CUBAN: Do you think we won that trade yet?

Q. I think you won that trade pretty big. Talk about the decision to bring in Rick. What was it that was appealing for him for this team?
MARK CUBAN: As a lot of you know I'm very into analytics and trying to look at numbers and see the edge we can. They're not the end all, be all. One of the analysis we did was say, when a player was traded or moved between teams, what coach created the most increased value for those players? So if you move from team A to team B, were you better or worse than team B? Rick's name was at the top of the list by a mile, in terms of who makes players better. And that was a big decision point. Donnie interviewing him on the X's and O's was a big decision point. Rick being very open-minded to using some of the non-traditional things we use, like team psychologists and all those types of things, and analytics you puts those things together and it takes times to gel.
An inflection point for us is guys finally getting to a point where they understood Rick's decision and trusted him. Once they trusted him and bought in, it was a matter of learning to execute his system. Then we were getting better and better. We're sitting here as world champions and we lost Caron. Everybody was, "You're done." Ronnie was going to come in, and you're done. It's a tribute to the culture, the focus and the team. I mean, you just can't say enough. This is a team. That goes from trainer, Casey Smith, Hack, Dionne, all those guys. Everybody contributes. It's the culture of the team that has made this team successful.

Q. Mark, clearly Kidd's leadership and vocalness was a part of the reason you guys came back strong. Can you reflect back and even laugh at some of the criticism of that deal. I know it was a tough decision to make. What does he mean to this team and how much more can he play?
MARK CUBAN: Some people disagree with this, but I'm a strong believer in terms of the analytics that there's a part of the game known as winning time, where players on both teams really whatever energy they have left, they commit to the rest of the game to try to win. There are very few people like Jason Kidd who is able to impact on both sides of the ball, whether it's making the right pass, getting the guy to the right guy, or just extracting himself so J.J. or Jet or Dirk can do their thing.
Defensively he has phenomenal hands. Those are the type of things that don't show up in the boxscore. You saw it tonight. You saw it the whole series. You saw it all the playoffs. We measure those things. He's just off the charts.
So we loved Devin as a player. No knock on Devin. He was an All Star, and he has every chance to be one forever and ever, but what we felt we needed at that point was someone who can manage the game and impact during winning time.
You look at how we win, how we closed out games not just in these playoffs but since Jason came over, and it's played itself out. And we're really proud of it.
I'm just so happy for Jason Kidd. You just have no idea. Jason Kidd was the reason I bought Mavs season tickets the first time.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks. This concludes the session for the 2011 NBA Finals. Thanks, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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