A day after attending Flip Saunders’ funeral in Minnesota, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle talked about how the former Timberwolves coach touched the lives of so many people.
“I would characterize it as a perfect ceremony for one of the great people that I’ve ever known in the league,” Carlisle said. “It was attended by so many people that cared, so many people that he touched. “His family is beautiful. His son gave just a fantastic talk about Flip and his life and his relationship with his son.”
Saunders died Oct. 25 of cancer at the age of 60, and his funeral was Saturday. Carlisle said Saunders was truly one of the coaches who had friends throughout the NBA.
“Flip’s one of these guys we can’t forget,” Carlisle said “That’s why we’re going to be wearing pins all year long to remember what he did as a coach over a period of more than two decades, and what he meant to us as a human being.
“Because along with being a great innovator and a very creative guy and a great competitor, he had an amazing wit with people. And that touched many, many, many of us, including a lot of you.”
Sunday was the first time in NBA history a player in his 20th season (Lakers’ Kobe Bryant) played against a player in at least his 18th season (Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki), when both spent their careers with only one organization.
“Dirk and Kobe are testament to discipline,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. “I don’t care what business you’re in, you don’t excel in any industry without being disciplined, without having a focus on greatness, and both of these guys exemplify that.
“As much as I try to give [Bryant] a lot of [fuss] over the years, the guy is amazing and he deserves nothing but a lot of credit. We’ve kind of gotten to be a little bit of friends, we talk business every now and then, and I really like the guy.”
Cuban picks Texas
When it comes to business, Cuban has a favorite area of the country. And it’s not Silicon Valley.
“The Silicon Valley culture is just not my favorite scene to be in,” Cuban said. “I’ll take Dallas, Austin and Texas over Silicon Valley any day of the week. Silicon Valley is a lot like new Hollywood where you’re always looking over your shoulder for the prettier girl, the bigger star and the next script. In Silicon Valley they’re looking over their shoulder for the next start-up, or to start their own start-up.”
Cuban, who co-hosts the TV show Shark Tank, said he has about 150 businesses, with 70 of deriving from Shark Tank.
No dirty player
Cuban was watching some ESPN analysts discussing the hard hit Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath put on Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette on Sunday, and he didn’t like what he was hearing.
“ESPN is throwing [Heath] under the bus when the call was wrong, not what the kid did,” Cuban said. “I was going to tweet it, but since you guys asked me, anybody who didn’t see the play is going to think the guy’s a dirty player. I think ESPN owes Heath an apology.”