Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is never afraid to speak his mind. The billionaire businessman simply tells it how he sees it all the time. That has certainly resulted in some hefty fines from the NBA over the years, but his latest take focuses on the problem with youth basketball these days.
Everywhere you look on social media, at all times of the year, a high school athlete, including some most people have never heard of, is going viral for making a spectacular play or having an unbelievable game. The mixtape generation is alive and well and having one made is as cool as it gets. Or so it seems.
Do you know who wasn’t much of a viral sensation? Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic. Do you know who is the frontrunner to win NBA Rookie of the Year? Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic.
It’s no coincidence to Cuban.
A 6-foot-7 guard from Slovenia, Doncic was dominant for Real Madrid in the EuroLeague and many hoops lovers knew all about him. That’s why he was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Yet, people act so surprised the 19-year-old prodigy is averaging 18.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists through his first 29 games of the 2018-19 season. That’s the point Cuban is trying to make.
“If we took our best kids and seven years before they are McDonald’s All-American, we sent them over to Slovenia to get an education, the league would be a thousand times better. They just learn how to play basketball while our guys learn how to taunt and put together mixtapes.” — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, via EuroHoops
There’s a lot of truth to this statement. While some players are known for their high school highlights and competitive pedigree, players such as Doncic are taking the league by storm. He’s still a teenager, but has more game, skill, and poise than most players his age and even some a decade older.
There’s a cultural difference, sure, and if it wasn’t so obvious already, Cuban will gladly be right there to point it out.