: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Sunday that Detroit Pistons and U.S. Olympic basketball coach Larry Brown wasn't qualified to criticize the stance Cuban and other owners have taken against international play by their athletes.
"This is a topic that's easy for Larry to comment on," Cuban said in an e-mail to The Dallas Morning News. "He has never had to write the check for an NBA payroll in his life."
Brown said in an interview with the newspaper during the Pistons' trip to Dallas on Saturday that he finds it disingenuous that Cuban and other owners question if it is in the best interest of their teams to allow their players to compete in the Olympics.
He believes the presence of NBA players on the 1992 Dream Team helped develop many of the foreign players now in the NBA.
"If the Dream Team didn't go, maybe he wouldn't have half his players," Brown said of Cuban. "Maybe these kids would be playing soccer or something else. That makes me sick."
The newspaper reported on its Web site Sunday night that Cuban issued an e-mail response after seeing a transcript of Brown's comments.
"If things don't work out, a player gets injured or he doesn't like the way things are going, he can do what he has done everywhere else, just leave," Cuban wrote. "As the owner of the team, I can't do that. I am responsible to everyone in the organization, particularly the fans, who much prefer watching our best players, playing at the top of their game.
"Larry is a great coach, and that is exactly what he should stick to," Cuban said. "When he is responsible for a hundred million dollars or more in contracts, then I will respect his opinion on the subject."
Cuban, who acknowledged the positive impact the Dream Team had on the worldwide appeal of basketball, said it may be time to stop looking at the Olympics as a marketing tool for professional sports.
He also suggested that USA Basketball fill its roster with college players.
"Or better yet, why doesn't coach Brown quit the Pistons and donate his services and enough money to support a program that pays college-age players a stipend to be part of USA Basketball and represent our country?" Cuban said. "Now that would be patriotic."
Cuban suggested the players could play for USA Basketball rather than a college and practice full time in Colorado Springs, Colo., where other Olympic teams practice.
"To help out, I would even match however much coach Brown donated to the cause and help raise money for the team," Cuban said.