Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban made decision to not play national anthem before home games; NBA responds

DALLAS — One thing had been missing when the Dallas Mavericks hit center court at American Airlines Center after the team’s owner, Mark Cuban, decided that the national anthem would not be played before games.

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It was first reported in The Athletic. Cuban has admitted that it was his decision and that it was made before the season started, The Associated Press reported.

“It was my decision, and I made it in November,” Cuban said, according to The New York Times.

Update 7:11 p.m. ET Feb. 10: Cuban said during an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump that the Mavericks had no problem playing the anthem “at all,” and that the decision to not do so was the result of ongoing conversations with members of the community who felt the tradition “did not fully represent them.”

“We’re always talking to our community. That’s something (Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall) stands for and is very insistent upon and has become a core part of who we are at the Dallas Mavericks,” Cuban said Wednesday. “In listening to the community, there were quite a few people who voiced their concerns, really their fears that the national anthem did not fully represent them, that their voices were not being heard. So we’ve had a lot of conversations about whether or not we should play the anthem. And so during the first preseason game, we decided to not play it and just see what the response was, knowing that we were going to have ongoing conversations about it. We didn’t make any decision to never play the national anthem then -- that wasn’t the case at all. We didn’t cancel the national anthem. We still had our flag flying proud up on the wall at the American Airlines Center and everybody had the opportunity to address it and pray to it or salute to it or whatever their feelings are.

“There was never any final decision that was made that we would not play the anthem.”


Original report: “The Star-Spangled Banner” had not played at American Airlines Center since the season started, but fans had not been in the stands. That changed on Monday when the Mavericks took on the Minnesota Timberwolves in front of 1,500 front line workers who had received at least one COVID-19 vaccination, The Associated Press reported.

As for the playing of the nation’s song, the move did not go against the rules of the game this year. But in seasons past it was required, The New York Times reported.

Typically, the NBA has required players to stand while the anthem plays, the Times reported.

“Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the AP.

However, after news of Cuban’s decision almost four months ago, went viral Wednesday, the league announced that all teams will now be required to play the anthem prior to games as fans return to arenas, SNY reported.

Cuban responded to the NBA’s decision, saying, “We are good with it,” The New York Times reported.

The team announced Wednesday afternoon that the anthem would be played before the next game.

Cuban had spoken out last year against critics who disagreed with NBA players and coaches taking a knee during the song’s playing as games resumed in the COVID-19 bubble at Walt Disney World last year, the AP reported.

“The National Anthem Police in this country are out of control. If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why they don’t play the National Anthem every day before you start work,” Cuban said on Twitter in June, according to ESPN and the Times.