DALLAS – Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban can totally relate to what happened to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank in this past Sunday’s Super Bowl.
And Cuban knows it’s a sick and painful feeling.
Blank was on top of the world in the third quarter as his Falcons took a massive 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots. But as if someone dropped a bucket of cold water on the Falcons, the Patriots rallied and scored 31 unanswered points en route to stunning the Falcons and winning the Super Bowl, 34-28, in overtime.
That stirred up some horrible memories for Cuban.
Back in 2006 the Mavs led the Miami Heat 2-0 in the NBA Finals in a best-of-seven series after wins in Games 1 and 2 by scores of 90-80 and 99-85, respectively. There was even talk of the route the Mavs were going to have for their downtown championship parade, with one columnist writing that the Heat wasn’t worthy of being on the same court with the Mavs.
Fast-forward, the Mavs were even on the verge of taking a commanding 3-0 lead. With their offense clicking, Dallas held an 89-76 lead in Game 3 with just 6:33 remaining in the game.
But the tables suddenly and miraculously shifted and the Heat rallied for a 98-96 victory. Miami then proceeded to win Game 4 (98-74), Game 5 (101-100 in overtime) and Game 6 (95-92) and totally stun the Mavs while winning the championship series.
"I couldn’t leave the house for two months,’’ Cuban said. "Seriously, I was afraid everybody was staring at me and thinking, ‘Aw, you idiot.’
Thus, Cuban knows of the pain the Falcons experienced after they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Super Bowl LI. After Sunday’s Super Bowl, Cuban used his Twitter account to tweet:
"If you see Arthur Blank or any Falcon player, thank them for a great year. The pain of losing is far greater than the joy of winning.’’
Someone asked Cuban how did he and the Mavs move on from that painful loss to the Heat in the 2006 Finals.
"We lost our first four games the next season,’’ Cuban said. "Then we got upset -- 1 to 8 -- after having 67 wins in 78 games.
"So we turned out OK.’’
Cuban, of course, was speaking with his tongue planted firmly in cheek. However, the Mavs did actually enter the 2007 playoffs as the No. 1 overall seed in the NBA.
But the Mavs became the first top seed to lose to a No. 8 seed in a best-of-seven series when they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in six games by the Golden State Warriors.
When asked if he felt responsible for his team losing the 2006 championship series to the Heat, Cuban then took a playful jab at President Donald Trump.
"I feel responsible for everything,’’ Cuban said. "That’s part of the job.
"I keep on telling the president that, but. . ."