April 03, 2003

CUBAN INVASION: In what's probably

CUBAN INVASION: In what's probably the most clever April Fools joke in sports since the Sidd Finch hoax, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (who is known for his less-than-cordial relationship with the NBA's officiating corps) during the second quarter of Tuesday's game staged an elaborate stunt in which he had an accomplice dress up as a referree on the court- only to get into a scuffle with a supposedly enraged Cuban (here's the video clip). The operation was so deep undercover that none of the Mavericks players seemed to know that it wasn't on the level, and assistant coach Del Harris looked as though he himself needed to be restrained.
Since buying the Mavs in 1999 Cuban, a dotcom-era visionary who sold his company Broadcast.com to Yahoo for $6 billion, has lived up to the legacy put forth by Bill Veeck in the '30s and '40s- he may favor elaborate stunts, but he gets the job done: as of Wednesday, the long-moribund Mavericks have the best record in the NBA, play in a spanking-new arena, and have a sterling reputation as the team for which everybody in the NBA wants to play. If there's one thing sports (especially baseball) needs, it's a couple dozen more of Mark Cuban.

UPDATE: Here's another good one: rabid Yankee fan Paul Katcher pretends to have gotten a job with the Red Sox. Very funny.

Posted by Stephen Silver at April 3, 2003 02:51 AM
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