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NBA declares all teams will play national anthem and Mark Cuban says Mavericks will comply

Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban walks across the court
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban decided to stop playing the national anthem before home games this season.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

Now we know why Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t want to bring attention to his decision to stop playing the national anthem before home games this season.

Days after Cuban’s decision started receiving national attention — but months after it was actually put into practice — the NBA issued a statement Wednesday saying all teams would stick with the tradition of playing the anthem before tipoff.

“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” NBA chief communications officer Mike Bass said in the statement.

The Mavericks had indicated earlier this week that they had no plans to start playing the anthem again, but Cuban told the New York Times of the NBA’s mandate: “We are good with it.”

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LeBron James is 36, has played more regular-season minutes than all but six players in NBA history and the most playoff minutes, yet shows no signs of slowing down.

Cuban defended the rights of players and coaches to kneel during the anthem before games in the Florida bubble last year. In a since-deleted tweet from July, Cuban wrote: “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.”

He told the New York Times earlier this week that he determined that the anthem would not be played before games at American Airlines Center in 2020-21, starting with the preseason.

“It was my decision, and I made it in November,” Cuban said without any elaboration.

According to the Athletic, the organization didn’t publicize the decision and did not announce it internally.

It wasn’t until Monday, when a limited number of fans were allowed to attend a Mavericks home game for the first time this season, that the absence of the anthem received widespread attention.


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