Mark Cuban, the gay-friendly owner of the Dallas Mavericks, told TMZ recently that he believes the NBA will see an openly gay player before the league sees a female head coach.
Cuban noted that Nancy Lieberman coached the Mavericks’ D-League team, the Texas Legends, last year. But he said coaching in the NBA isn’t one of Lieberman’s goals. And although he thinks it will definitely happen eventually, Cuban said it will take some time for a female coach to work her way up through the NBA ranks. Then the topic shifted to the question of a gay player. Here’s a transcript of the exchange between Cuban and TMZ host Harvey Levin:
LEVIN: What’s going to happen first, an openly gay player in the NBA or a female coach?
CUBAN: An openly gay player.
LEVIN: You think it’s going to happen soon?
CUBAN: I think within the next three to five years absolutely.
LEVIN: Is there talk about that, where people are saying, “Hey, we’ve got to stop this kind of image that we have that we’re intolerant.” Are people talking about that within teams?
CUBAN: Not so much because I don’t think there’s really the perception that we are intolerant. I think the only issues we’ve had is with some fallback and some old-school type language that’s derogatory to gays. So there are certain words that I think were accepted five or 10 years ago that guys are starting to recognize you can’t use any longer, and that hasn’t been a problem. So I think it will be more of a media sensation when somebody comes out than it will be a player issue.
The exchange begins at about the 9-minute mark in the video below.