Stern is set to retire Feb. 1, 2014, the 30th anniversary of his tenure as the Association's commissioner. Over the years, he and Cuban have forged a unique relationship, where Dallas' head honcho is frequently slapped with fines for colorful reactions, borderline temper tantrums and general outspokenness.
It turns out Cuban is looking for one last hurrah before Stern rides off into the sunset.
"We talk about it all the time," Cuban said while reflecting on Stern's 30-year run as NBA commissioner in an interview with ESPN.com's Marc Stein. "I'm going to have one final fine before he leaves."
For reasons unknown to even myself, I picture these exchanges between Cuban and Stern consisting of the former blasting Daft Punk's "One More Time" while writing an imaginary check in thin air.
Many will see Cuban's admission as odd or even absurd. Really, he's just waxing nostalgic.
Being fined has become something of a sacred ritual for Cuban, who Stein writes has forked over more than $1.8 million in the last 14 years. Never one to shy away from speaking his mind or exhibiting intense, midgame emotions, Cuban has been penalized countless times.
Just last season, he was docked $50,000 for criticizing league officials on Twitter, per The Dallas Morning News' Brad Townsend. June 2006 will also go down in Association lore as the time Cuban was fined $250,000 for "several acts of misconduct"—meaning a glorified outburst—during Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
"I'm fine with it," he wrote in an email at the time, according to The Associated Press' Andrew Bridgman (via CBS News). "Get the humor there. Fine with it."
The best fine Cuban ever incurred came in 2002, when he was ordered to pony up $500,000 for saying he wouldn't hire Ed Rush, the NBA's head of officiating back then, to "manage a Dairy Queen," per the AP (via Sports Illustrated).
"I guess the commissioner let him know who was in charge," then-Mavs head coach Don Nelson said in 2002, via the AP (h/t SI).
Stern most certainly did and plenty of times thereafter, too.
But Cuban apparently hasn't been fined enough. He wants one more worthy of Stern's swan song.
Fortunately for Cuban, Grantland's Zach Lowe indicates he may be well on his way:
So come on, David. Grant Cuban's wish one more time.
For old fine's sake.
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