Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, had a lot to say about Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook before the Thunder’s fourth victory in the series. While the Mavs may not be moving on, Cuban’s works will linger for a bit.
“I think he’s an All-Star but not a superstar,” said Cuban on Westbrook and his place amongst the greats in the league today. “You look at Dirk [Nowitzki]. I’m not going to talk about other teams’ players, I guess other than what I just said, but Dirk for 15 years won 50 games no matter what. We put Moe, Larry, and Curly next to him, and we won 50 games. Russ is certainly an All-Star, but I consider [Kevin] Durant a superstar.”
Cuban here is referencing Westbrook’s failure to lead the Thunder to the NBA Playoffs last season with Durant out for the majority of the season battling a foot injury. OKC finished 45-37, and Westbrook put up 28.1 points per game, 8.6 assists, and 7.3 rebounds.
“It wasn’t until we got [Jason] Kidd that we had another Hall of Famer, and even J. Kidd was towards the end of his career. So for years when Dirk won 50, that’s a superstar. There are only a few guys where you can put them on any team, and they win 50 games. To me, that’s the definition of a superstar.”
Of course, Dirk and Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle didn’t entirely agree, but you have to respect Cuban’s position even if you disagree. Not only because he’s an owner but also because he cited his reasons—Westbrook’s shortcomings last season and his struggles in clutch-time. Agree or not; you can tell Cuban has thought out his position.
So, when Westbrook and Durant were asked about the billionaire’s comments after the game, Durant stopped Westbrook and answered it himself.
“He’s an idiot,” said Durant. “He’s an idiot. All right. That’s what we’ve got to say about that. He’s an idiot. Next question.”
Great answer. Hopefully, we’ll hear a more thoughtful response from the pro-Westbrook party in the coming days. It won’t take much to convince America, given that the majority of NBA fans already consider Russ a star, but you’ll need to do a little better than personally attacking the nay-sayers.