Mark Cuban has always been bold and brash when describing his basketball game. Saying that he has the most prolific basketball game among the 30 owners in the National Basketball Association.
Now, the Dallas Mavericks’ owner will get to show off his basketball skills on a very big stage.
Cuban has been chosen to play in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game during All-Star Weekend. The game will be played Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. in New Orleans.
Cuban will be on a Western Conference team that includes former NBA guard Baron Davis, WNBA player Candace Parker, singer Master P, recording artist Andy Grammer, actor Tom Cavanagh, model/actor Jiang Jinfu, actor Miles Brown, actor/comedian Hasan Minhaj, actor Anthony Mackie, recording artist Romeo Miller, and celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez.
The Eastern Conference team will consist of ex-NBA player Brandon Armstrong, TV personality Nick Cannon, recording artist Kris Wu, actor/recording artist Ansel Elgort, former NBA player Jason "White Chocolate" Williams, Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry, actor Caleb McLaughlin, TV personality Rachel DeMita, media personality Peter Rosenberg, Arcade Fire singer Win Butler, former pro basketball player Oscar Schmidt, and WNBA player Lindsay Whalen.
Known for playing one-on-one games with some of his players, the 58-year old Cuban admits he’s not as fluid on the court as he used to be.
“I have no game left,’’ Cuban said. “But I love to play.’’
According to those who have seen him play, Cuban has a pretty decent game.
“He can shoot – a lot,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said after Thursday morning’s shootaround. “He’ll add a lot to that game.
“He’ll add a level of skill, and certainly he’ll add personality to that game, too.’’
Guard Devin Harris has noticed Cuban has been polishing up his game lately in anticipation to play in a contest that’s going to receive worldwide attention.
“He’s working really hard,’’ Harris said. “You see him before the game working on his jump shot, so I expect big things out of him.
“I’m curious to see him make a couple of shots. He works on his craft, so if he gets some open ones I expect him to knock it down.’’
So what are the chances of Cuban coming out of the game with a triple-double?
“I would have said (Donald) Trump’s odds of being president weren’t very good, either,’’ Carlisle said. “He’s got a shot.’’
Michael Finley, who played for the Mavericks from 1996-2005 and is now the team’s assistant vice-president of basketball operations, said Cuban will “score and he’ll make it interesting. I just hope he doesn’t get hurt.’’
Cuban had left hip replacement surgery in 2007 and right hip replacement surgery in 2014. Yet he’s feeling no ill effects form those surgeries.
Finley and Cuban used to play a few friendly games of h-o-r-s-e.
“I told him when I shot I used to make the nets sound like sweet Chicago jazz,’’ said Finley, who is a Chicago native. “Asked him about that – when the nets used to pop.’’
When asked who customarily won those games of h-o-r-s-e between him and Cuban, Finley said: “Excuse me? Smack yourself.’’
When asked if Cuban could play any solid defense, Carlisle said: “It depends on your definition of defense. Mark goes hard, so whoever he matches up against better embrace himself.’’
Finley expects Cuban to tackle the game the way he tackles a business deal where millions of dollars are at stake.
“He said he’s playing well, so I understand now why he’s been playing,’’ Finley said. “If he’s playing in this celebrity game, he’s getting in shape, he’s getting ready.
“He’s preparing himself.’’