DALLAS -- Last year during the playoffs, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban raised eyebrows when he said Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is not a superstar.
Now that Westbrook is on the verge of becoming just the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season, quite naturally Cuban’s stance has changed, right?
"I don’t know what young guys are talking about,’’ Cuban told reporters on Sunday. "All that stuff is fake news.
"(Westbrook) must have wire-tapped my phone. I’m going presidential and said I never, never said it. It never happened.’’
Seriously, Cuban still adamantly doesn’t believe Westbrook is a superstar. Cuban’s standard criteria for his own definition of a superstar is the player has to be the ultra-star on a team that wins 50 regular season games and advances at least to the second round of the playoffs.
"The criteria hasn’t changed,’’ Cuban said. "And if I change my mind, it would ruin all the fun with you (media) guys."
Cuban doesn’t believe Westbrook even belongs in the conversation to win this year’s coveted Most Valuable Player award. He said that’s a two-man race between Houston’s James Harden and Cleveland’s LeBron James.
Westbrook entered Sunday’s game against the Mavericks averaging 31.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.1 assists. He also has an amazing 30 triple-doubles this season.
"It’s impressive, don’t get me wrong,’’ Cuban said. "It’s incredible, but he’s unstoppable in his own way.
"But the criteria is the criteria -- 50 games and a playoff series. He just has to do it once."