The Thursday Show Prep

posted by Steve Bortstein -

Mark Cuban 670

This hasn't been a good week for Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

Just hours after Cuban spoke openly about the team intentionally losing games in order to secure higher draft picks, a sexual misconduct story broke involving former team president and CEO Terdema Ussery. 

The report suggests that during his 18-year tenure with the Mavs, Ussery committed multiple acts of inappropriate behavior toward female employees.

According to the piece from Sports Illustrated, Mavericks employees say complaints were ignored by the head of human resources as well as superiors. Ussery, who was investigated by the team after similar claims in 1998, denied the allegations in a statement to SI.

The Mavericks issued a statement saying they are investigating, and the NBA says it has been informed. The team also said it fired website reporter Earl Sneed for misleading the team about a domestic violence incident.

Cuban is already facing fines of $600,000 from NBA commissioner Adam Silver for the comments he made on a podcast about intentionally "tanking".

The Mavericks (18-40) have the third-worst record in the NBA but are among a logjam of seven teams with fewer than 20 wins. The team with the worst record will have a 25 percent chance of making the No. 1 pick in June's draft.

Cuban will not fight the fine, telling the Associated Press, "I earned it. I got excited talking to Dr. J and said something I shouldn't have."

The investigation into the far more serious charges is ongoing.

It does seem like an eternity since we saw an NBA game.

My last image of a game on the hardcourt still resonates with the wailing cat-like noises from Fergie at the All-Star Game, so whatever happens to be on TV tonight will certainly sound better if nothing else.

Among the highlights tonight in the first night of action since the All-Star break are the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers, who get a chance to continue their winning streak when they host the Washington Wizards. The Cavs have won four straight, going into the All-Star break with a new lineup following acquisitions made before the trade deadline. Also, the defending champion Golden State Warriors will be home to face the L.A. Clippers.

Welcome back, NBA. Please stop hiring Fergie to sing the anthem. 

Thank you.

The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey is finally over. They needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it, too.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored a dazzling, triple-deke goal in the sixth round of a shootout thriller and Maddie Rooney stuffed the last two Canadians to wrap up a 3-2 victory over archrival Canada on Thursday.

The Americans piled over the boards, throwing gloves in the air before huddling and hugging on the ice -- 20 years after their last gold medal in women's hockey and 38 years to the day after the men's famous "Miracle on Ice" victory over the Russians in group play at Lake Placid.

-- Associated Press

Baseball and Glove (Credit: Getty Images)

The first call of "Play ball" gets echoed around the country for Major League Baseball teams tomorrow with the arrival of Spring Training games in Florida and Arizona.

And there is still talk about trying to tinker with something that not only isn't broken, but at least in the mind of this baseball critic, is a slap in the face.

It's been reported, though not verified by league executives, that a current rule proposal would allow a team trailing in the bottom of the ninth inning to use any three hitters it wants to start the inning, regardless of where the batting order is. 

As much as I genuinely believe this is a hoax or just some nonsense being put out there, the utterly imbecilic thought that an executive in the sport of baseball hates the sport so much and that they would be willing to alter the very integrity of the game in order to .... wait, accomplish what, if I may ask?

I thought last week we were trying to shorten the game. 

Mound visits, remember? The all-too-helpless crowd that apparently can't divert their attention away from their smartphones to squint past the netting that jettisons out to god only knows where are being affected because a catcher can't have a chat with his pitcher in the ninth inning because that team has exceeded the number of permissible trips to the mound.

I hate stupid people, and I hate when stupid people think they have an idea to "better" something that doesn't need to be altered in any way.

This following sentences may likely read like words from an elitist sports snob, to which I say so be it.

If you can't follow along with the sport, stop watching it. Baseball is too smart for some people.

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