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Mavericks owner is fined $500K

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NEW YORK — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $500,000 by the NBA on Tuesday for repeated public criticism of game officials.

Cuban's most recent criticism came after the Mavericks lost to San Antonio 105-103 on Saturday.

The Dallas owner was fined seven times by NBA commissioner David Stern last season for a total of $505,000. His largest previous fine was $250,000.

This was the largest fine for an individual in NBA history, the league said.

The largest team fine was the $3.5 million Stern imposed on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Oct. 25, 2000 for making a secret deal with star forward Joe Smith. Stern also voided Smith's contract and stripped Minnesota of five first-round draft choices. He later restored one of the picks.

The largest fine for an individual in all sports was $1 million. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue fined Eddie DeBartolo, the co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers, on March 16, 1999, for being involved in a Louisiana gambling fraud case. Tagliabue also extended DeBartolo's NFL banishment until at least February 2000. DeBartolo remains out of the league.

Last month, Cuban said he had hired a "statistics expert" to track referees during every Mavericks game.

"I can't tell you how I do it," the owner said. "I got someone I trust, and I pay him a lot of money."

Cuban's first fine last season was $25,000 on Nov. 2 for criticizing officials after a game against Seattle. Within three weeks there were two more fines, one for $5,000, the next for $15,000.

On Jan. 1, 2001, he was fined $100,000 for sitting on the baseline during a game against Minnesota. Three days later, Stern imposed the $250,000 fine for criticizing officials after a game against Detroit. There was another $10,000 fine on Feb. 15 that was accompanied by a two-game suspension for running on the court to break up a fight in a game against Cleveland. Finally, on April 15, Cuban was fined $100,000 for making a derogatory gesture.

Cuban, who purchased the Mavericks for $280 million in January 2000, said he decided to track the performance of officials this season when he decided the league was calling fewer fouls.

"The players and coaches know it, so they are more aggressive," he said.