1 Point for Sports Media

It’s no shock to anyone who reads this blog that I’m not a big fan of some in sports media. I have a particular aversion to those who just make things up and try to pass them off as “factpinions” knowingly wrong information presented by columnists hiding behind the facade of it “just being opinion”.

Sam Smith is the all time worse offender, but there was a recent new addition to the list Mike Celizic of MSNBC.com

Celizic wrotea column saying I turned down a deal for Shaq. Anyone who listened to any of the 100 interviews I did on the topic this summer knew that we tried, but there never was a deal discussed Ever. I asked if they would consider trading Shaq to us, the Lakers said they didn’t have an interest. End of story.

I wrote an email to Celizic and we had a back and forth where he said it was purely opinion on his part . It certainly didn’t read like opinion and there were plenty of people emailing me who thought it was a factual report rather than opinion, so I wasn’t the only one who thought it could be misleading.

So, I wrote an email to Celizics editor, and wonder of wonder he responded. Not only did he respond, but he told Celizic to run verbatim the email thread that occured between us in his blog and that they would publicize the correction as much as the original article.

A big thumbs up to Danny an editor at MSNBC.com for recognizing what happenedand using internet media the way it should be used.

Thanks Danny. I’m so impressed, I’m linking to MSNBC.com and what’s his names blog and article rather than reposting it all here!

34 thoughts on “1 Point for Sports Media

  1. Because some moron over at Page 2 on ESPN.COM decided to tell everyone to post “nice hair” as comments here, IM turning off comments till all the idiots get bored and go away

    Comment by mark -

  2. I simply don’t understand most of these posts. Look, I love the Mavs and think Mr. Cuban has done a great job in helping to turn this team around. I also think that most of today’s media is lazy, biased, and has no sense of ethics. That being said, if one reads the piece Celizic wrote it is clear that it is an opinion piece, period. He believes that if the Mavs wanted Shaq they could have got him and it would have guaranteed them a title. I disagree with him as the trade they would have had to make would have gutted the team, most likely would not have led to a title, and when Shaq was gone in a few years the team would have been back to square one. However, he did not pull a Vessey and say he knew that the Mavs and Lakers had a deal worked out that Cuban balked on. He simply said it could have been done. Mark says they never had any serious talks and I have no reason to believe he isn’t telling the truth. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have pursued it if Mark had chosen to gut the team. For pete’s sake it was simply his opinion and anyone who read it and thought it was fact and chose to e-mail Mark as to why he didn’t pull the trigger simply didn’t read the article closely enough.

    Mark, as another poster said, you’re a freaking billionaire. Why do you care what someone rights in an opinion piece. I could understand if he was stating this as a factual report, but that wasn’t the case.

    Comment by Blake -

  3. “If you had actually done a half a minute of research, i have been widely quoted saying exactly how the entire thing went down.”

    Nice, Mark. I like you, but you are one to talk about doing research. I’m going to rant about your piece on the Chelsea owner in the Time most influential 100. In it, you turn the praise of Abramovich into a piece about yourself. The average soccer fan could have written what you wrote about him. You gave no insight, which is understandable because you probably don’t know him. In which case I wonder why they chose you to write about him.

    Oh probably because you are both billionaire sports owners. Anyways, you conclude your piece about Abramovich by telling the readers HOW YOU HAVE LEARNED HOW TO TAKE LOSSES. Your concluding statement that is supposed to praise the owner of Chelsea FC is how you have found a way to lessen the amount of time that losses hurt you.

    NEWSFLASH MARK! Chelsea hasn’t lost a game at home all year long! GREAT RESEARCH!

    Comment by Dave from Dallas -

  4. The only part of the original article that was “Commentary” was Celzic’s opinion that the Mavs should’ve made the allegedly factual deal happen. Cuban has every right to be pissed off. Celzic looks like a fool.

    Comment by HB -

  5. Nice hair. =)

    David Stern made me do it!
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=neel/050504&num=2

    You’re the man, Mark.

    Comment by Karni -

  6. Opinion: Shoulda traded Dirk and some junk for Shaq….Lakers would have absolutely jumped on it.

    Signed Nash at his price. Made a couple nice little moves like Stack and the big white guy that can shoot.

    Fact: NBA CHAMPIONSHIP FOR MR.CUBAN.

    Comment by T.P. -

  7. As I wrote to Celizic, several holes exist here. Not only would the Lakers not trade Shaq to a WC team, Dirk’s salary alone wouldn’t get the deal done. Finley, Walker, etc. would have to be part of the deal. As far as foolish speculation goes, this is on par with: Why didn’t Cuban trade Tariq, Bradley, Walker, and Jamison to the Lakers for Shaq? Har Har. Keep up the good fight, MC. It’s great to have an owner that gives a damn, but looks at his team with both the long and short term views in mind.

    Comment by Lindy -

  8. Two words for you Mark: Jim Grey.
    These boys must’ve falled of the same tree. I have to add something to all this. reporting of trade rumours and what not in the NBA is gettig way out of control. The biggest abuser in my personal opinion: Chicago Tribune. Click o any of either Hoopshype.com or InsiderHoops.Com and read the rumor ticker and most of the material seen on it from the Chi. Tribune is garbage. What’s wrong with these boys? Slow day in the office or what?? Hell, at leat throw in a disclaimer to the effect that anything they print purely speculation and/or B.S.
    It’s utterly ridiculous the way it is now. Gee, i can’t wait till summer to see what ludicrous concoction they’ll spin off this time around.
    Cheers Mark and good luck with game 6 over Rockets. Yer boys need rest before next round so let’s finish’em of tomorrow night.

    Richard, Toronto

    Comment by Richard -

  9. Mark,
    I am with you on this one. I read his article, to me it sounded like he is attacking you personally. The funny part is the dope wrote this article when your Mavs where down 2-0, ask him how he feels know about the German ! If he would of waited, till your Mavs lost the series, then it’s a different story but now he looks like a total moron. I think if your Mavs win tonight you should send him a T-Mac jersey or wait maybe you had a deal on the table for him too, lololol.

    Comment by James -

  10. I not sure why you went after the blogger, it is not like it was not reported wide spread last year that the lakers said if they trade Shaq to Dallas Dirk would have to be included in the package, and that Mark you responded in the press that you would not trade Dirk. Just because you did not have formal discussions, there has always been the implication that if you offered Dirk and 3 other players you could have got Shaq. Which I would agree with in that such an offer would be about twice what they ended up with from the Heat.

    Would it have been a good move? I doubt it. Even if his assumption is correct about the trade he ignores several things 1) that the Heat have Wade, who is much better then any player the Mavs would have had left after being fleeced by the lakers. 2) the Heat play in the East, where they only really have to win the series against the Pistons to get to the finals. I doubt if they would be much better then a 50/50 bet to get by the Mavs or Rockets, not to mention the spurs and suns. 3) That at the time of the trade Shaq was hurt, and looked extremely out of shape in the Detroit finals and clearly showed he could not win a title by himself (or with Kobe) so it was a good decision not to strip the team to get him. 4) that the Nash decision was still the best long term move for the team. Maybe he will have 4 good years left but the odds are against it.

    Bob

    Comment by bob -

  11. I’m pro-Cuban on this argument, and Mark started dropping him in the early rounds, but I have to admit that the blogger did kind of make his point more clear to me after reading his thread.

    When you’re talking to your friend, you say things like “Aww man, if Cuban wanted Shaq, he could have had him.”

    That’s an opinion, and it’s presented in a factual way because of everyday speech tendency. Blogs are basically journal entries and often put into that format. It’s very different for this to come from a blogger, instead of a sports columnist like Sam Slime. While it should be approached in a more professional and edited manner since it bears the name of MSNBC, I can actually see where the guy is coming from.

    He’s saying if Mark wanted Shaq for one or two years, all he had to do was turn over one of the best players in the league who was just approaching his prime, and maybe throw in some draft picks as well. (Hey, why not the jet too?)

    And if he had overpaid Steve Nash, who has certainly improved Phoenix remarkably, but probably wouldn’t have had nearly as startling an impact on the current Mavericks, then the Mavericks would be the team to beat.

    Or at least that’s his OPINION. His.. dumbass..opinion.

    The only thing I’d change as a passive Mavs fan (my worthless Wolvies out early as usual) would be signing Nash to keep the Suns from being a young, combustible, nearly unstoppable offensive force.

    Comment by Matt -

  12. Nowitzki is more entertaining than shaq anyway. About 10x as entertaining. Shaq is a great player, but I’d rather watch the sonic’s jerome james to be honest.
    He’s just boring to watch !

    Comment by Andrew -

  13. Did anyone see on, hmm, it was either during SportsCenter or one of the games last night – whoever the hell the broadcaster was was insinuating that Cuban’s ongoing dissing of officials (see, for example, that post a few days ago here – a list of FACTS about win/loss records for officials of Mavs games) had somehow led to Jeff van Gundy being forced to complain about their treatment of Yao Ming, which of course to his big-ass fine? Oh, puhlease – make the man responsible for his own dense actions. Mark, this is an amazing tool for counteracting all the sports writer BS – keep it up.

    Comment by Kelly -

  14. Mark

    The best part is that the entire column is based on the fact the the Mavs were down 0-2. Wonder what he’s thinking now? Perhaps why the Rockets didn’t trade Yao for Shaq.

    Comment by Nishant -

  15. I’m not sure why you’re happy with the way that Celizic responded (or the way that his editor made him respond, whichever it is). I mean, he does look like an idiot for clinging to his position that he was just offering his “opinion”, but he pretty much just blew you off. He never came back and said, “I had no basis for my opinion. I was just pulling stuff out of my butt.”

    That’s the retraction that would have made me happy, if I were you.

    Comment by kg_veteran -

  16. I disagree with the last couple of people. Mark, I think you did the right thing defending yourself. Labeling an article with the word “commentary” is never an excuse to print speculations and conjectures which could easily be interpeted as fact. Even in commentaries, there are facts, speculation, conjecture, and, of course, opinions which are based on those facts, speculations and conjectures. Ultimately, I believe a journalist should make clear whether his or her opinion is based on which of the three.

    Bottom line, Celizik didn’t do that here. Although Celizik meant for his opinions to be based on speculation and conjecture, a reasonable person could have interpreted his statement that the Mavs could have gotten Shaq as fact.

    Comment by Steven -

  17. You know cuban… even though you don’t like me at least your the only one on Earth these days with the guts to have a blog. Other billionairs like gates and trump and hilton… they don’t have anything to communicate with on the internet… not to mention tom cruise and leo….. so in that way you are somewhat cool… You know I didn’t read your “cool” post but I’m sure it was “instructive” to these “underlings” you have going on here. But just remember Mr. Cuban… that they won’t stay “happy” with you forever… they will always want more…

    consider this….

    and don’t erase so quickly… it’s considered weak..

    Nixon didn’t … why should you?

    anyway…

    Siebel… worth a lot!

    I bought it about a year ago…. lol.

    Bluestar….

    2 billion of cash…

    musta know somethin’ up there….

    right?

    just guessing….

    Oracle….

    no.

    Icahn..

    no.

    gates?

    no.

    hmmmmm

    might as well wait… wait… secure company you must all admit that…

    anyway….

    out

    Comment by visibleh20 -

  18. Good Job, and keep up the stairclimbing. It’s a great place to do an interview!!!🙂

    Comment by Jason -

  19. Well said, Jake Haselswerdt(post 15). You’d really think there must be some better use of his time than demanding apologies because a guy has an opinion he disagrees with. The column was clearly labeled as COMMENTARY, and it makes assertions like, “Cuban PROBABLY could have had Shaq last year”(emphasis added by me). It’s just silly to say there’s no “way on god;s green earth” that the Lakers would have traded Shaq to the Mavs. What if you threw in Josh Howard, Marquis Daniels, Nowitzki, and Dampier? Still think the Lakers would have said no? It would have been a dumb trade for the Mavs to make, but of course there could have been SOME deal that would have put Shaq in a Mavericks uniform. In the end, it doesn’t matter, though. It was just an opinion column. It’s not Celizic’s fault that several idiots emailed Cuban about the column, nor is it his fault that Cuban wasted his time setting those people straight. I mean, really, the guy(Cuban) has a wife and kid, and he spends a half hour responding to moronic emails from Mavs fans who don’t understand what the word “commentary” means. Don’t waste time like that. A half hour with one’s family is precious, this is all just a bunch of noise about nothing. Let it go.

    Comment by Tim -

  20. Mark, do you ever think just MAYBE you could be doing something better (i.e., more PROFITABLE, I know you like profit!) with your time than exploding into a childish rage and demanding that every journalist who ever writes about you or the Mavs be fired and/or publicly disemboweled? It’s your team, no one’s taking it from you, you’re winning and you’re making oodles of cash. So why is it so important that every penny ante journalist bows and scrapes for you? What the hell difference does it make?

    Comment by Jake Haselswerdt -

  21. Ummm…this guy did a pretty horrible job of setting the record straight. I do appreciate that he (actually his editor) allowed for your accurate representation, but he never admitted to making up the “facts” that helped him form his illogical opinion.

    Like its already been stated, LA had no interest in trading Shaq to another Western Conference power. His column was nothing more than a kneejerk reaction to the state of the NBA playoffs at that precise moment, not a well-researched commentary on the wheelings and dealings (or the lack thereof, allegedly) of one Mark Cuban. He, like most every other national and local media outlet, saw an opportunity to pile onto the owner everone loves to hate when the Mavs went down 0-2 to the Rockets. Instead of offering realistic analysis of the dire situation the Mavs were in, he decided to remorse the neglect of Mark to pull off one of those trades you only make in video games.

    I hate to throw this out there, because it reveals the homer in me, but if you look how everything shook out it seems to me that the 3 players involved all ended up on very good teams with realistic championship opportunities and MVP type seasons. Its not worth the bandwidth to dream up the NBA any other way at this point.

    Comment by Nick -

  22. Mark:
    I second Pelo Rojo’s comments. I don’t understand why you’re so pleased with that MSNBC editor.
    That writer is a bullshit artist. He wrote a filler piece based on nothing but old rumors and bad logic then had the gall to weasel out of an apology when you confronted him. Unfortunately his cowardice and laziness are all too typical of many journalists.
    I hope you’ll continue to urge professional athletes and those involved in the management of sports teams to communicate with fans through their own blogs.

    Comment by James Douglas -

  23. Mark,

    You would be going nuts over the treatment Jason Williams received by a local columnist here in Memphis this week. It’s now been much publicized because of how J-Will reacted to him in the locker room. Right or wrong in his means of protest, Williams got severely taken out of context in a way that made it look like he had given up on the season and his team. Most people here who read the initial article attest to that and claim he was at least justified in feeling the way he did. If not justified, his reaction is at least understood.

    I guess you would recommend he get a blog… Just like you recommended to his high school buddy Randy Moss!

    JB

    Comment by Justin -

  24. MARK. i was just thinkin about this today driving in the car.

    PLEASEEEEEEEE DONT EVER TRADE DIRK!!! i will be heart broken. i will fall apart. the fans in this town will be so hurt and disappointed. i want dirk to be the guy that starts and ends his career with the mavs. i want to see #41 retired in the stadium. i want to see dirk break all previous mavs records. when we bring in new players, i hope that they are there to compliment and mesh with dirk. DIRK IS OUR FRANCHISE PLAYER!

    i beg of you….dirk is a mav forever!

    MFFL,
    cali

    Comment by cali -

  25. Bottom line to this story and is only one person was involved in conversations about a possible deal for Shaq. That one person isn’t Mike Celzic.

    So for Celzic to even remotely suggest that a deal could have been had is just idle speculation devoid any factual evidence. Evidence that suggest the Lakers weren’t even remotely interested in discussing any deal with the Mavericks.

    Comment by Brandon Bibb -

  26. Mark –

    I do not know the facts. My presumption is that L.A. never would have traded Shaq to a Western Conference competitor. I didn’t need to listen to talk radio to figure that out. However, I have to say, Celizic came off as nice and gracious, and you came off looking like a megalomaniac.

    Truth is, and I have worked as a sports journalist, he should have at least tried to call you. That’s Journalism 101. Quotes are everything.

    Even if the column was commentary.

    Columns are typically opinions derived from facts to support them. So, a column like his can support an opinion while being pepper with facts or – ahem – mistakes.

    Either way, I betcha he would have responded should you have e-mailed him with a simple, nice request to discuss the matter over the phone. Sure, journalists are always looking for next week’s piece and most good journalists are more than willing to acknowledge mistakes. Goodness knows I acknowledged some over the years.

    Besides, you’re renowned for journalist accessibility. So, don’t think I am giving the guy a total pass. That’s just some laziness on his part.

    However, just remember, you’ll gather more flies with honey … you’ll even gather more sports journalists.😉 Go Mavs!

    Ryan

    Comment by Ryan -

  27. I don’t get why you would be happy about any of this, at all…

    I have had several e-mail battles with sports journalists and have found that they have one of the most useless occupations. They are glorified fans, constantly spewing clichés, collecting paychecks they don’t deserve.

    Mark, I don’t think you should be content with having MSNBC correcting themselves. If you hadn’t made a point to correct them yourself, they would have tried to pass the gossip buck on all of us and believe that you were involved in a “deal” for Shaq. But what’s more is his blog makes you out to be a fool and does NOT make any attempt at apology. He says (about posting your thread), “…I told him I’d print them verbatim…” As thought this was his idea! I thought you said his boss told him to post that exchange. There is nothing on his blog that shows he is punished for being absent of journalistic integrity.

    This is why bloggers are not taken seriously and why judges are ruling that bloggers are not legitimate journalists. That is an issue I know you care about, and not taking this guy to the firing line on this makes him and anyone who listens to him think it is okay to fabricate stories or to plainly make ones up– which perpetuates a less serious attitude toward journalism and our democratic rights.

    Mark, you are supposed to be a bad-ass, vigilante, MAVERICK!.. That guy is arrogant and makes you look silly on his blog.

    Where is the apology you are due from Celizic?

    Where is the justice?

    Comment by Pelo Rojo -

  28. Blake, I don’t know how you or Celizic can argue that the Yankees won 1996-2000 by “going for it”. This was a team that was painful to watch in the early ’90s; if you can recall, they were terrible – but eventually Jeter, Williams, Rivera, Pettitte, etc. emerged from PATIENCE and painstaking development headed by expert scouts. Yet everyone identifies the Yankees success with Steinbrenner, probably due to his image, but objectively, the team was good only until he got his head into player operations. Celizic may have been talking about the 96-2000 Yankees, but he is dead wrong when he claims they won because of taking risks a la Shaq for Dirk.

    Comment by Charley -

  29. Come on, I know that Shaq is Shaq, and he’s a great player…but why would you even think about trading Dirk? There’s a few more years left in Shaq, Dirk has about 10. Sure, who wouldn’t want Shaq….but there was a price for him, he wasn’t free.

    Comment by Drew -

  30. Yikes, guys lets calm down a bit. If you read the thread objectively I think they both made valid points (and believe me I’m one the biggest critics of the media around). So lets not be guilty of what Celizic is being accused of by doing the same thing in defending Mr. Cuban. For example, the point above about the Yankees. The article clearly states he was referring to the 96-00 squads and Mike Mussina was hardly the first big name free agent acquistion, O’Neil, Cone, Key, Brossius, Raines, etc…

    Comment by Blake -

  31. On the surface it’s great he did this, but as I read it, it seems more as if he wanted to do this as a way to write this week’s column. I see it as more manipulative “journalism”. Somewhere in the back of his head he’s hoping he becomes “that columnist who got into a fight with Mark Cuban because Cuban refused to trade for Shaq”.

    Comment by Brian Spaeth -

  32. Without even looking at any conflicting information this guy Celizic presents, the factual examples he provides to support his “opinion” are totally flawed.
    He says “look at the Yankees” – well, if I remember correctly, beginning with the first big name free agent they signed (Mike Mussina, 2001), they have not won exactly ZERO championships. This is the type of “risk” Celizic seems to be advocating for the Mavericks. Any sane owner knows that the only way to win a championship, and especially in baseball since he brought it up, is by building from WITHIN. As soon as you start overpaying players (Steve Nash, if kept in Dallas), the good times come to an end. George Steinbrenner, as an example, totally depleted his farm system through surrendering compensatory draft picks and ill-fated trades (Neagle, Knoblauch, to name a few). He is by far the most overrated owner in all of sports, as all of his “personal” moves (taking Sheffield over Vlad Guerrero) and bypasses of baseball experts have slowly deteriorated one of the most well-constructed dynasties in all of sports – but that was when Gene Michael called the shots.

    Comment by Charley -

  33. That guy is still clueless. His last parting shot of “standing by opinion” makes him live in a fantasy world that the so-called ‘offer’ was in fact there. Why can’t he fess up and admit that he was being an irresponsible journalist?

    Sports journalism has really taken a turn for the worse these past 10 years. Thank the internet that we can get the real facts.

    Comment by greg -

  34. I see no way that could be presented as an opinion. Either it happened or it didn’t.

    Good for Danny.

    Comment by Brian -

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