Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban reportedly consulted an FBI agent in the aftermath of the 2006 NBA Finals to see if the referees were were giving the Miami Heat an edge.
This is what OregonLive.com's John Canzano discussed in the last of a five-part series on NBA officiating on May 16. Here it is revealed that Cuban sought the FBI's help as he thought the Miami Heat, the Mavericks' 2006 NBA Finals opponent, were getting special treatment from the referees:
"Since buying the Dallas Mavericks in 2000, owner Mark Cuban has been outspoken about officiating. He's been fined $1.665 million by the league in that span.
"During the 2006 NBA Finals, Cuban was frustrated after a Game 5 loss to the Heat, and went on the floor to vent to official Joe DeRosa, glaring, too, at (former NBA commissioner David) Stern in the stands. Earlier that same playoffs Cuban also criticized how the officials are selected for the playoffs.
"He was fined $450,000 for those two incidents.
"No other major professional sports league is as vigilant as the NBA in assessing fines, and enforcing a long-standing gag order on its officials.
"Retired FBI agent Warren Flagg, a 20-year veteran of the bureau, said he consulted with Cuban after that playoff debacle. Flagg now runs his own New York-based investigation and security firm. He looked deep into officiating, as Flagg said, Cuban was considering a lawsuit.
"'Cuban asked me what he should do,' Flagg said of the 2006 Finals. 'I told him,'Sue and you'll win your case,' but he knew he'd be killing The Golden Goose.'
"When asked about his discussions with Flagg, Cuban said: 'I don't remember.'"
"Ball Don't Lie's" Kelly Dwyer weighed in on this issue in his May 19 blog:
"Even if Cuban does (remember), he's likely not going to admit as much, and the bravado behind Flagg's assertions that he'd definitely win a case against the NBA over referee calls is the height of ridiculousness. It wasn't about the 'Golden Goose.' There was nothing there.
"It's true there were some TERRIBLE calls, especially late in games on bang-bang plays, but it's not because the NBA had it in for the Mavericks. Not for a team playing in a market larger than Miami's, with an international superstar the NBA could market to no end in the months leading up to the FIBA World Championships.
"There was no fix worth investigating, no lawsuit worth chasing down. The Mavs lost three very close games against a championship team because both their players and coaches failed to adapt on the fly, and they were blown out in another game that saw Dirk Nowitzki shoot 2 of 14 from the floor."
In a separate development, Cuban will be waving the green flag to start off the 2014 Indianapolis 500 on May 25, per ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett.
"Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will be the one waving the green flag when the 33-car field roars down the frontstretch to start the 98th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
"Cuban, who also stars in ABC's 'Shark Tank,' is the honorary starter of the event, Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Monday. The race starts at noon ET on ABC.
"'Whether it's winning an NBA championship or the honor of waving the green flag to start the Indianapolis 500, there are certain sporting events that are monumental for any true sports fan,' Cuban said in a release.
"'I am excited to come back to Indiana, not just to attend, but actually participate in this historic race.'
"Cuban, who bought the Mavericks in 2000 and has an NBA championship under his belt from 2011, graduated from Indiana University and started Audionet (then Broadcast.com) with Todd Wagner in 1995 in part to listen to Hoosiers basketball games.
"The company, which streamed games over the Internet, was sold to Yahoo! for $5.6 billion four years later.
"Cuban purchased the Mavericks not long after that.
"This is the first time Cuban will wave the green flag for the Indianapolis 500."